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Socorro & Truth or Consequences 2/4 Echo

Participants: Jesse Griffith, Andrew Baker, Barbara Webber, Loren Schoonover, Jay Wilson, Kurt Lehr, Luis Vidal, Nicole

 

Jesse Griffith: Teaches digital arts at Socorro High School

 

Nicole: Teacher at Socorro High School

 

Kurt Lehr: Also a teacher at Socorro High School

 

Luis Contreras Vidal: Student at New Mexico Tech. Originally from Mexico City.

Notes:

  • JG: Board meeting yesterday, some of the topics that came up were bringing back the middle school students on governor’s orders. High schools coming back on the 16th, concerns about the hybrid model, some classrooms still need DVD and other amenities. Right now, my classroom is available for 10 students. Vaccination event today, teachers were able to get the first round of the Moderna vaccine. It’s been a big week and a half! There’s a lot coming down the road - we should be seeing our students in a week and a half, so we’re playing by ear right now. Teachers and classrooms are getting ready. We’re still nervous, but trying to be optimistic.

  • KL: Similar story. Today’s vaccination went fantastic, smoothly, we were able to stay in our cars and get assistance from the fire department and public health professionals. Thought it would be jam packed, but they were able to keep distance. Rollout and administration of vaccine went well, which is a good sign

  • Nicole: They made the week sound a lot calmer than it actually was, but things have been going smoothly. Part of the reason that there was no line was because we were the first there. They did training on how to fill out the forms and get the proper information to everyone.

  • LCV: Not really any updates on the Tech side. Haven’t been vaccinated because grad students aren't a priority, not sure if that extends to Teachers’ Assistants. They’ve told us to register through the NM vaccine website, but there hasn’t been a conversation between Tech and DOH as far as I know.

  • JW: Getting out our survey! If you could rate 1-10, what would you rate the response?

  • JG: Compared to previous COVID, it’s still pretty low. The World doesn’t want to be in this situation. We’re still dealing with what we have. Still dealing with students who haven’t gotten vaccinated. Feeling grateful to have gotten the teacher vaccination, but there’s still a large proportion of the population that haven’t gotten covered. Hope that everyone else can have that peace of mind from vaccination. Would rate it about a 2

  • Nicole: Would also rate 2, but for different reasons. Seems like the administration is trying to push the limits, rather than play it safe. They’re trying to push for a greater percentage of students in the building than is allowed by the public health order. We’re supposed to do these things in order to open, but they’re doing it without consideration of safety. They’re doing it because it’s what we’ve been told, not because it’s to protect us.

  • JW: Have you heard anything from the parents?

    • Nicole: Still confused on the high school athletics side. Kids were originally told that they couldn’t play because they weren’t in the building. Now that that’s been taken apart, there’s less people on the list to come back. There are some who would rather stay home and carry on that way, but athletics have been a source of confusion. Parents spoke about uncertainty at the board meeting. PPE sounds great, but they’re aware that the high school staff is not communicating well enough with each other. There’s no real concern about the safety aspect of the building.

    • JG: There were some big holes revealed when we heard about plans from the other schools. Hearing the Middle and elementary schools’ plans, it made it apparent that we haven’t prepared as much. Hearing a lot coming from Middle school staff, but that’s part of the reason why the HS opening date got pushed back. Lots of concerns about why parents weren’t notified about this. Lots of logistical problems that could’ve been handled with better communication to staff. First question opening the doors today was “is school delayed?”

    • Nicole: On top of the confusion report, we were all in the board meeting. Had other teachers come in and ask about what happened. Nothing sent out to a majority of the staff. There’s no way that we’re going to be able to communicate that to students or families if we don’t have a solid plan ourselves.

  • JW: What have they been using to communicate?

    • Nicole: Mostly informal, conversations in the halls. Sometimes we receive updates from the admin. Most of what we’re learning is from teachers who are going out of their way to seek out that information.

    • KL: Most of my experience has been similar. If I had to rate, I’d give it a reluctant 4 in part due to the vaccination. There is a shortage of viable health staff. We have no school nurse (one was hired yesterday, hasn’t been officially announced). You can see where this is going regarding communication. Don’t know what communication is like at tech or in other parts of the county. There’s little united effort.

  • JG: It’s tough to know what’s going on all around town. Most of what I’ve heard about tech has come from these meetings.

  • KL: Still don’t know what’s going on around town. Frustrating to have these experiences.

  • LCV: What Tech was doing to keep track of COVID is rapid testing. We have to take rapid tests on campus to make sure that everyone has access to campus. There needs to be better communication with the city. Some of the students are from out of town, and don’t have access to campus. There needs to be more work done by Tech to keep track of cases.

  • JW: What do solutions look like?

  • JG: Better communication! Lots of the information that we’re receiving has come from facebook. Have been actively avoiding social media because of politics, but that’s the only place where a lot of information is available.

  • LCV: How many people come to these meetings between Tech and the schools? Talking at these meetings could be a good start, we need to disseminate that information.

  • Nicole: Knowing when all of these meetings are happening. The only place that this info is available is on Facebook, so if you’re not cued in on there, you’re not in the know. Sometimes I miss some stuff because of avoidance due to toxicity. Newspaper has a weird discrepancy. Magdalena has a much larger space than Socorro. Don’t know when the teacher’s meetings are and sometimes they aren’t posted prominently. Maybe if we made a community calendar of some sort? Sometimes the city sends out a list of events happening in a month, but not as a calendar. Having a literal calendar that people can consult to see what’s happening might be a good thing to make it clear what’s happening when and where. Internet has also been an issue. We don’t know who’s advocating.

  • KL: Hopefully when this all gets better, we can continue that conversation about the internet.

BW: What we’ve been hearing is that some of these district are mandating vaccinations. That’s been an issue of controversy on how to proceed. Some other areas of the state are also complaining about lack of information on how to get vaccinated. Right now, they only have about ¼ of the population registered. The legislature is about halfway through, commitment to broadband and better internet service is of particular interest.

Rural Voices for COVID Recovery