Parents And Staff Want To Know More About LAPS Hybrid Plan


It seems there is a lot of disagreement in the community on whether or not Los Alamos Public Schools should implement the hybrid option returning to school Sept. 21. A group of parents circulated a survey among Chamisa Elementary Schools staff and published the results Saturday morning.

A parent involved in preparing the survey told the Los Alamos Reporter on Saturday that many Chamisa parents feel they are not being heard on the back to school issue.

Parents are now working on having teachers from other schools in the County take the survey. ave just as much voice. Each school has its own survey and they are linked to the LAPS Staff Facebook page. Organizers have said the survey is 100 percent anonymous and that all results will be released and shared with the School Board.

“Chamisa parents want to know the teachers’ honest thoughts and feelings about the transition to hybrid,” she said.

The primary question on the Chamisa survey asked which option staff would prefer:

  • Only remote instruction until they are back with all students five days a week
  • Hybrid instruction as a middle step, but wait until the second semester
  • Hybrid as a middle step, but push back the transition date a few more weeks
  • Hybrid as a middle step, and Sept. 21 is good

With 23 staff members responding, 56.5 percent wanted favored  instruction only, 26.1 percent wanted hybrid as a middle step, 13 percent wanted hybrid as a middle step starting Sept. 21, and only 4.4 percent chose hybrid as a middle step pushing back the transition date for a few more weeks.

Asked what was their gut feeling when they first heard the School Board’s decision to begin hybrid on Sept. 21, staff expressed anxiety, dread, anger, indignation, exhaustion, resignation and apathy. Only five staff members indicated that they felt optimism or hope.

With regard to the question of under which model students would get more of their time each week, 69.6 percent staff responded under the remote model, 8.7 percent said hybrid and 21.7 percent felt they would be equal.

Some 68.2 percent of staff felt their students would learn more materials and achieve more standards this year doing the remote model, 18.2 percent said hybrid and 13.6 percent think it would be equal. Asked under which model they felt their students would be happier, 40.9 percent said remote, 22.7 percent said hybrid, and 36.4 percent said they would be equal.

After seeing both models in action for a few weeks 69 percent felt parents would be happier with remote, 8.7 percent said hybrid and 21.7 percent felt they would be equal.

Asked which model would be less stressful for them to maintain, 87 percent said remote, 8.7 percent said they would be equal and 8.3 percent said hybrid.

Some 60.9 felt remote teaching is a learning curve but that they were getting the hang of it, 30.5 percent felt it was going very well, and the rest said. “It’s a disaster, I need help, or switch to hybrid as soon as possible”.

The remaining questions on the survey may be viewed here:

Supt. Kurt Steinhaus told the Los Alamos Reporter Sunday afternoon that he greatly appreciates the information from surveys developed by teachers and community members.

“We work together to help the School Board make informed decisions. This is democracy in action with a focus on what is best for our students,” he said.

Whitney Holland, president of the president of the Los Alamos Federation of School Employees told the Reporter Sunday that the union represents educators with differing positions about the incredibly complex issue.

“The common theme for all is the desire to be back in the school buildings as soon as it is safe. The District leadership has been put in the position to decide what ‘safe’ means from ever-changing information from the New Mexico Public Education Department and the Department of Health,” she said. “The PED released a document late Thursday night that once again changed the criteria for allowing students back on campus. This was shared with Districts the Thursday night before a three-day weekend and when School Districts around the state were preparing to welcome kids back on Tuesday. We need time with guidelines such as these to be absolutely certain that we are ready to welcome students into our classrooms.”

Holland said it is also time to have a realistic conversation about the intricacies of the hybrid model.

“Educators and families need a clear picture of the demands that this model will place on them. We have heard the message from educators across the district loud and clear – the hybrid model will decrease instructional time and significantly limit the amount of time that teachers have to interact with and support their students.  All local educational decisions must prioritize the health and safety of the entire educational community.  We need the time and flexibility to go all-in on the safest model of instruction and do that one model well,” she said.

The Chamisa survey contained dozens of “unanswered questions” from the 23 staff members. Samples of those questions are as follows:

  • What would a regular hybrid day look like? – Parents and teachers had a right to know that before the school board vote to go to a hybrid mode.
  • What would happen if there are multiple teachers out? – Concerns that there are not enough staff or substitutes to cover.
  • Why are teachers not being asked about the steps being put in place?
    Why are specials teachers teaching remotely when middle and high school teachers will be exposed to large numbers of students when they return to school in a few weeks?
    Where are the fogging machines we were promised?
    Will teachers have to go without breaks all day?
  • Why do kids have to wear masks during recess and outside exercise breaks?
  • How do we keep 5-7 year olds six feet apart at all times?
  • What do we do when we get sick since we have no subs?
  • Why weren’t these things decided over the summer?\
  • Why was the public lied to about our ability to teach kids on line when we are already teaching kids in person Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday with the hybrid model without any planning time?
  • Why didn’t our School Board representative come to our school to talk to us about our feelings and concerns?
  • Will I get a lunch break without children?
  • Why do kids have to wear masks during recess and outside exercise breaks?
  • How will I escort kids to and from their parents if I don’t have an instructional assistant?

There were multiple questions about quarantine rules including what happens if someone in a class gets COVID, whether the whole class will have to quarantine, whether the classes of siblings will have to quarantine, and whether teachers will have to teach if they are quarantined for two weeks.

Parents are encouraging other parents to send public comments to the School Board for the Tuesday, Sept. 8 meeting, however there is concern that the comments will not be included in the record as has been the practice during recent School Board meetings. Written comments are not included in the minutes for review.

Editor’s Note: The Los Alamos Reporter has interviewed several individual parents within the Los Alamos Public Schools community on what education looks like for them these days. Their stories will published individually this week.