Shiprock, New Mexico – The CCSD Board of Education voted unanimously to allow Central Consolidated School District to follow the New Mexico Public Education Department’s guideline of 50 percent In-person Hybrid Model in grades kindergarten to fifth grade. The vote, during their September 15 meeting, included that there would need to be further dialogue with the Navajo Nation, government to government, to expand education on CCSD schools on Navajo Nation. CCSD will monitor any changes on COVID-19 status and adapt as necessary to continue to ensure the safety of students and staff. CCSD schools reopened on September 14 with a virtual learning model, which will continue to be an option for parents.

“This decision was challenging, but much needed for our students. It may look easy but it is not. We want the community to know, our parents and grandparents, our wonderful students that we listened to them and that we are making these changes to make sure they are not left behind. Also, the board and the district will focus heavily on balancing the health and safety of students and staff,” said Gary Montoya, Board of Education President.

Superintendent Daniel P. Benavidez applauded the vote and clarified that the decision moves the district in the right direction, but that before schools start opening up for in-classroom instruction the district will need to discuss the change with parents and school principals to ensure a smooth, safe transition.

“This is a bold decision by the Board of Education. We will follow precautions and due diligence, and I want to make sure that the community understands that the decision is made on the best interests of the students, and that we will take every precaution to keep everyone in our classrooms and buildings safe. Parents need to know that we will continue to follow PED’s guidance, as well as recommendations from health officials, and ongoing dialogue with Navajo Nation, as appropriate, to address their concerns,” said Daniel P. Benavidez.

The New Mexico Public Education Department’s guideline for school reentry states that the number of students in the building at any time is capped by the number that can be accommodated while adhering to at least six feet of social distancing or 50% classroom capacity level. Students not in the building engage in remote learning. The instructional model is a combination of some in-person days and some online days.