ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — With New Mexico schools shut down for the rest of the school year due to the coronavirus outbreak, three public television stations on Monday will begin broadcasting class lessons for home learning for students in grades K-5.
The participating Public Broadcasting Service stations are KENW-TV at Eastern New Mexico University's Portales campus, KNME-TV at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque and KRWG-TV at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces.
The Albuquerque school district will provide four hours of instruction each weekday morning, which KENW called “an ambitious and vital new broadcast initiative."
The daily lesson plans will be broadcast each day, and will then be available later for individual “on-demand lessons," KNME said.
Academic subjects include English, math and science, according to the Albuquerque' district's website.
Schools statewide closed in March through the end of the school year to reduce the spread of the virus.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
Albuquerque Public Schools Superintendent Rachel Reedy said in a March 27 letter that teaching and learning would continue despite the “devastating" shutdown. “It will just look a lot different during the next few months."
Reedy said development of the district's new learning plan was a challenge because of the need to limit gatherings to no more than five people and to constraints involving training, curriculum, technology, special needs, language barriers and “the emotional and social strain on students, families, and staff."
Reedy said the Albuquerque district worked with the state Public Education Department “and many other districts on developing a plan that is accessible and equitable for all.“
New Mexico as of Friday reported 495 coronavirus cases and 10 deaths.
The dead include two men, one in his 80s and one in his 90s, who were residents at a large Albuquerque retirement community where at least 22 coronavirus cases involving residents and staffers have been reported.
Both men had underlying medical conditions, state officials said Friday.
State and Army Corps of Engineers officials have chosen a temporarily closed Gallup high school as a site for a “stepdown" hospital to care for non-coronavirus patients, the Gallup Independent reported.
However, the additional hospital at Miyamura High School won’t be ready in time to meet the initial surge of coronavirus patients expected in April, officials said.
Superintendent Mike Hyatt said food services taking place at the high school will be shifted to a middle school beginning Monday, along with the high school’s administrative services and distance learning.
A second stepdown hospital will be in Albuquerque, the Independent reported.