Families with school-age children can qualify for assistance with their monthly internet bill.
With the FCC’s Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, families who qualify for the free and reduced lunch program and who pay for their own internet can get a $50 credit for their Internet bill every month and families who live on tribal land can get a $75 credit. Every family with a child enrolled in the Magdalena School District qualifies for the credit, said Federal and State Programs Coordinator Keri James during the regular Magdalena School Board meeting Thursday.
The Magdalena School District is still waiting on state guidance to determine if face masks will be required for all students in school this fall.
The topic of face mask-wearing in school districts is controversial across the state, said Superintendent Dr. Glenn Haven. Haven was part of a focus group on face mask-wearing and learned that in some New Mexico school districts communities and school boards are entirely opposed to face masks. Other school districts do not even want to return to fully in-person school but want remote or hybrid learning in the fall.
The New Mexico Public Education Department still has not given districts updated guidance on face masks for the fall. A cease and desist order has also been sent to NMAA and PED to stop the use of masks immediately, said Haven, so it’s unclear where that will lead.
Magdalena Principal Leslie Clark said her administration would like to allow face masks to be optional for students and faculty who have already been vaccinated. Athletic Director Jory Mirabal said during summer sports they’ve been following New Mexico Athletics Association guidance: students who are vaccinated are not required to wear masks in activities and workouts and staff are not allowed to ask students whether or not they’ve been vaccinated.
The Board will determine a face mask policy for the fall at their next meeting on August 16.
In other business, the Board approved a new athletics handbook that includes a major change in eligibility requirements that puts academics at the forefront. Instead of basing eligibility on semester grades, eligibility will be based on nine weeks grades. Mirabal said this should both help kids stay on track academically and encourages coaches to use their influence to keep kids going academically.
“It effectively puts academics at the forefront of our kids’ minds and our coaches’ minds,” said Mirabal.
While most student-athletes and coaches are doing a good job of focusing on academics, some students work hard to keep their grades up in the fall semester and then neglect their studies in the spring after they are qualified for spring sports, said Mirabal. The eligibility requirement would not be practical in a school district with more students, he said, because it would be impractical for a counselor to determine eligibility for 600 kids every nine weeks. Since the Magdalena School District has a smaller student population it should be effective.