Messages from the Superintendent

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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

September 29, 2020 

Farmington Municipal Schools students, staff, families and community, 

The temperatures are cooling and days are growing shorter, marking the change of seasons in our region and also, a coming change to our district. Two weeks from today our district will welcome preschoolers and elementary students back into our buildings after six long months. To reach this goal, FMS redesigned components of our Return to Learn plan in order to completely comply with lengthy Reentry Guidance and Covid-19 Response Toolkit from the New Mexico Education Department. and I’d like to share with you some of those adjustments

From September 3 to September September 22, district and school staff worked diligently to get approval to welcome back elementary students as soon as possible. We called this “getting to yes.” To “get to yes” with the NMPED, FMS had to switch from a 50% reduction of room capacity model to a 50% of teacher roster model. Through the incredible work of district enrollment staff, school secretaries and leadership teams, this process of rostering students appropriately has been completed and I am happy to say that most of our students who had previously chosen At-School learning will be able to attend four, full days of school come Tuesday, October 13. 

The Farmington community has been steady if not passionate about the desire to return to classrooms in as normal a fashion as possible. I am elated by our community’s dedication to quality, public education and partnership in that education. However, at some grade levels in some of our schools we simply could not meet the 50% teacher roster reduction. These grade levels will come back to our classrooms in an A/B hybrid model, to allow students who want and need At-School learning two days of classroom instruction. Only three schools, Ladera, Country Club and Mesa Verde Elementary Schools, could not meet the 50% roster reduction at higher grade levels. These schools continue to work with district staff to form Return to Learn procedures and school staff from these schools will be contacting parents and families who will return in an A/B hybrid model. 

Those who have chosen to At-Home learning will continue to learn virtually with the support and guidance of teachers. All students will continue to observe Independent Learning Mondays. The graphic below shows a typical school week for elementary students upon their return. 

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Another issue addressed was an upgrade of air filters in our school buildings and classrooms. The Operations Department at FMS, who have been building sanitation stations and plexiglass barriers around the clock, have also procured or are in the process of obtaining the proper air filters to meet this new guidance of NMPED. Masks will still be required for all students and staff in our schools, but these new air filters eliminate the need for medical-grade PPE or gowns. 

We are just as excited as parents and students to return to our schools and classrooms. While elementary students have an official start date, know that securing a return date for middle school and high school students remains a priority. With the help and partnership of our community and families, a successful Return to Learn at the elementary level will bode well for our efforts at the secondary level. Take the time to refresh your memory on the Dos and Don’ts of Return to Learn so students and parents or guardians alike are prepared for October 13. 

As a reminder, there is still time to fill out the Census. While we are focused on the immediate needs of our students, staff and community, the Census can do more to benefit our district throughout the next decade. 

Schmidt signature

Eugene J. Schmidt, PhD