Magdalena Municipal School District
John Larson |El Defensor Chieftain

Remote. Hybrid. In-person.These are terms that were unheard of in school districts at the beginning of 2020, but now are key concerns to the way teachers, students and parents approach learning.

In Magdalena, Lynn Major, president of the school district’s Board of Education, said Monday night at the board’s regularly scheduled meeting that there have been no positive COVID-19 cases since school began in September.

“Considering our numbers, that shows the diligence that you guys are following the protocols, and that says a lot,” Major told the staff attending the Zoom meeting.

“That is what is going to keep us safe.” she said of the positive cases in other schools across the state, “the majority of those are community-acquired. They were not acquired within the schools. Contact tracing is the process now.”

Currently, only the elementary school has adopted the hybrid model. Jory Mirabal, principal of the elementary school, said he believes the hybrid model has been successful, “from what I can see given the month we’re been in it so far.

“It has given the teachers the kind of feeling of why we got into doing what we love to do,” he said. “We have an amazing staff that goes above and beyond.”

The middle school and high school are still 100 percent remote.

“I want to clarify that we, as a board, do not want kids in the school. We are following the governor’s guidelines and that’s the reentry program that we approved,” Major said. “All of us are scared, trust me. Holly (Hagy, school nurse) can attest to this. We’re living it right now, all of us. All we can do at this point is to follow CDC guidelines with temperature checks, no symptoms, social distancing of six feet apart and using our masks and cleaning protocol.”

With the Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks looming, there was a discussion on the possible risk for students to pick up the disease from family get-togethers or out-of-town visitors. The board authorized the elementary school to make a temporary adjustment in the hybrid model to allow for symptoms, if any, to appear following the holiday.

“The week after Thanksgiving break we will stay totally remote and then go back to the hybrid for the two weeks remaining until the Christmas break,” Major said. “And then once we come back in January give them another week to go remote.”