A surprise three-inch snowfall prompted school officials to cancel classes Tuesday.
Caitie Ihrig | El Defensor Chieftain

What was supposed to be the first day of hybrid learning for students at Socorro High School was canceled due to a snowstorm.

Students were first alerted Tuesday morning around 6:15 a.m. that there would be a two-hour delay due to the road conditions. Around 7:15 a.m. it was announced that school was canceled due to the roads being unsafe.

On Feb. 10, the Socorro Consolidated School Board of Education voted to allow the high school students to be in a hybrid learning style.

The high school will return in two cohorts to keep the school at 50 percent capacity which is required by the Public Education Department.

The blue cohort will consist of students whose last name begins with A-L while the white cohort will be students whose last name starts with M-Z.

During the meeting, superintendent Ron Hendrix said that students who live in the same house but have a different last name can be placed in the same cohort.

The blue cohort will attend in-person learning on Mondays and Tuesdays with the white cohort on Wednesdays and Thursdays. The cohorts will alternate on Fridays for in-person learning.

Due to Monday being President’s Day and Tuesday being a snow day, the blue cohort was in-person on Wednesday and the white cohort will be in-person on Thursday and Friday.

Socorro High School principal Robbie Stephens said the blue cohort was supposed to be in-person on Tuesday and believes the PED will have the school districts make up any snow days later on.

The cohorts will start alternating Fridays next week and each cohort will have four Fridays that are in-person.

In the board meeting, Stephens said he talked to the students at length when creating the schedule.

“It was very important to me that run a seven period day and tried to keep the schedule maintained as much as possible in the interest of delivering our curriculum,” Stephens said.

According to Stephens both the in-person students and the remote students will be in school from 8:15 a.m. until 3:17 p.m.

One concern brought up during the board meeting was only having three minutes of passing time.

“We will start with one minute if we feel we need that, but that will take off one minute of instructional time for each time we do that,” Stephens said. “We are prepared to do that.”

Socorro High School will be a closed campus which means that students are unable to leave for lunch.

Students can start arriving at school at 8 a.m. and will enter through the foyer if they are a student driver or are being dropped off. Those students will have their temperatures taken as they enter the building. Those taking the bus will arrive at the commons area and can go straight into the school since their temperature was taken before getting on the bus.

At the end of the day, student drivers and those being picked up will exit through the east doors in the foyer and the bus riders will leave through the east doors of the commons area.

Just like Sarracino Middle School, Socorro High School is implementing QR codes and a spreadsheet for when students want to go to the bathroom.

According to Stephens, the spreadsheet is to be turned into the office each Friday.

Students are not allowed to congregate in the hallways and must walk in a single-file line to their next class.

Once they arrive, the teacher will tell the students when it is OK to go in the classroom. As each student walks in, they will be handed a paper towel that is to be used to wipe down their area. The teacher will then come around with a trash can for the students to throw the towels in.

Stephens said that the custodians will have extra PPE supplies in case a teacher runs out of supplies.

“PPE will be provided to each and every classroom as needed and teachers are allowed to request any time and are encouraged to request anytime they wish to have those things delivered to their room,” Stephens said during the board meeting.

The custodians will be disinfecting the school each night and each classroom has an air purifier that is to be turned off by the teacher at the end of the day.

Stephens said that each grade level has been given a copy of the COVID protocols, which include what face masks are allowed to be worn.

Face masks must have two layers of cloth and be FDA approved. They can also wear a mask that has a clear plastic window.
Students are not allowed to wear face masks with exhalation vents or valves, bandanas, scarves, neck gaiters or face shields.

“If we follow the rules, I think we will be good here,” Stephens said during the meeting.