Superintendent's Messages Regarding COVID-19

FMS Superintendent Dr. Eugene Schmidt aims to update students, staff, families and the Farmington community regularly during this school closure due to Coronavirus (COVID-19). Dr. Schmidt's most recent message is displayed below. Updated messages are emailed to parents and then posted here. 

 

Superintendent's Letterhead

April 1, 2020 


Farmington Municipal Schools students, parents and community, 

April has officially begun and brings with it many other new beginnings. The first, the District’s Continuous Learning Plan was finalized this morning after discussion and input from principals and school leadership teams this morning during a virtual meeting. School principals will share this plan with the teachers of their respective schools and parents and students should hear from their teachers in the coming days. I layed out a more specific timeline for the Continuous Learning Plan in a previous letter. The important part of the plan is the guidance to teachers for strategies to set up office and work hours. 

Secondly, today is Census Day, or the day that determines who is counted in the 2020 Census and where they are counted. According to Census.gov, the Census also informs how hundreds of billions of dollars in public funds are allocated by state, local and federal lawmakers to communities for public services and infrastructure like hospitals, emergency services, schools and bridges each year over the next 10 years. Each year, every resident in San Juan County is equivalent to $5,000 per year if they are counted by the Census. That includes funds allocated to Farmington Municipal Schools for our students through numerous programs. An accurate count on the 2020 Census is imperative to our county and our school district, perhaps even more so now with economic uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic. At Farmington Municipal Schools, no child is ever just a number or an amount of money. I ask that families remember it is your right to be counted in the Census and it is our duty as a community to get an accurate count to benefit us all, and especially our students. Families can learn more about the Census and how to respond to the Census here.

Earlier today I sent a message to all FMS staff thanking them for meeting the challenge of designing home instruction for our students in a matter of days. In addition, I also informed them of the district’s decision to abide by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s Stay-At-Home Order and keep our schools closed to staff and the public until the order is lifted. There are many belongings and learning tools still at school but I ask that teachers and students continue learning at home with the resources they already have with them at home. This decision was made for the health and safety of our nearly 11,000 students and 1,800 staff members. Some essential personnel such as Food Service, Custodial, Maintenance and Transportation will continue their duties with limited access to buildings. Case-by-case requests will be reviewed by the District Administration and should be made through school principals. 

Lastly, it has become a great joy of mine recently to read and share stories from around our district about teacher, staff and student work during this school closure. I will continue sharing them with you regularly and some recent highlights include: 

At Farmington High School and Piedra Vista High School, National Honor Society members, led by Ms. Suzanne Holman, have shifted their mindset on this school closure to an opportunity to serve others. The group is offering one-on-one tutoring assistance for students district-wide via Google Hangouts. If your student would like to take advantage of this opportunity, contact Ms. Holman at sholman@fms.k12.nm.us, include good contact information and for which subject tutoring is needed.

Also at Farmington High School, the Fashion Design class and instructor Kolbe Williams are sewing COVID-19 compliant face masks to share with health providers. These masks are much needed right now and I applaud this class for this critical community service.   

At Piedra Vista, guidance counselors have created videos to share with students how to maintain contact and information pertaining to their academic success.  These have been posted to the PV website and the counselors continue to receive inquiries from students on how to continue their education in online learning and credit recovery. Many staff have also sent emails to students to ensure that they know how to contact them as they provide learning opportunities for extensions, review and filling gaps. 

Ladera del Norte teachers are showing their commitment to students by checking in using emails, Schoology, phone calls, morning video messages, and hosting class audio conferences. The group has moved essential meetings with parents to Google Hangouts, a virtual meeting platform for the district. Specials teachers have posted activities in schoology allowing opportunities to continue music, art and P.E. activities. 

In closing, I’d like to reiterate the importance of abiding the Governor’s Stay-At-Home order and practicing responsible social practices like self-isolation when possible, social distancing, sending only one family member to the grocery store when shopping is necessary and washing hands frequently. In her most recent press conference, Governor Lujan Grisham referenced a Stay-At-Home score card using cell phone tower data. As a state we are a "C", as a county we are a "C", meaning we can all do better in our efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus in our state and community. Local agencies are expecting a surge in coronavirus cases in San Juan County in the coming weeks and staying home can help to lessen the number of cases in our community. 

Respectfully, 

Dr. Eugene Schmidt

FMS Superintendent