Laurence Pena, food services manager for Chartwells K-12, delivers a box of lunches to staff and volunteers Monday for distribution outside Aspen Elementary School. Photo Courtesy LAPS
Ready to hand out grab-and-go lunches to a family group Tuesday outside Aspen Elementary School are, from left, volunteer Kathleen Berry, assistant director of dinng services Carmela Alvarez and her son, Elijah Alvarez who helped make some 200 sandwiches. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Los Alamos Public Schools may be closed for now, but there’s lots of activity going on.
LAPS Supt. Kurt Steinhaus said custodians and facilities crews met early Monday morning in the School Board Room for training.
“We had 100 percent attendance. After the training, our folks were deployed to clean and sanitize our schools. The work continues throughout the week and they are doing an incredible job,” he said.
Steinhaus noted that a skeleton crew at Administration is making sure Public Education Department and other deadlines are met and construction projects are ongoing at Mountain Elementary, Barranca Mesa Elementary and Sullivan Field.
The district is planning to close all school buildings from March 26 through April 1.
“Many of our teachers are reaching out to provide learning resources for students and parents at elementary, middle school and high school levels,” Steinhaus said.
He noted that the district has numerous subscriptions to online learning programs that students can use while schools are closed. He also noted that establishing a schedule for students helps give some structure to their days at home. Many older students are receiving assignments from teachers that are directly related to their classes.
Steinhaus said LAPS employees becoming more familiar with Google Hangout for meetings and have already used it for a Los Alamos High School staff meeting.
Los Alamos JJAB Resource Specialists continue to be available via phone and video conferencing for parents and students.
“If a parent or student is not currently working with a Resource Specialist but is in need of assistance finding or connecting to resources such as therapists and medical providers, basic needs, financial assistance, academic supports, etc. please reach out to Los Alamos JJAB,” Steinhaus said.
Steinhaus expressed particular pride in how the grab-and-go lunch program for students up to and including 18 years of age is being handled by staff, community volunteers and Chartwells.
“One parent even delivered lunches to several homes where there were children in need,” he said.
LAPS students living off the hill can also pick-up lunches from the Espanola, Pojoaque, Taos or Santa Fe schools. Steinhaus noted that homeschoolers and family members of LAPS are also eligible for the program. LAPS is reimbursed on a head count basis for meals provided.
Steinhaus seemed pleased with how the district is handling the schools closures, particularly with regard to communication with staff, parents and students.
“We are receiving positive comments about communications,” he said.
See separate story on the latest LAPS newsletter which includes a variety of resources for students and families dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.