Elementary Hybrid Classes

Familiar Schools, New Routines: Back to the Classroom
Posted on 09/16/2020

Students and teacher in classroomMasks concealed the smiles, but it was easy to tell how excited teachers and students were to be in the classroom and see each other in person.

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About 4,000 RRPS elementary students whose parents chose part-time in-person learning (called the “hybrid” model) returned to campuses this week for the first time.  It wasn’t “back to school” – students have been learning online for a month -- but it felt like a new beginning.

Throughout Rio Rancho, teachers walked through classrooms helping students with their math problems and writing exercises, a familiar scene.  But students quickly learned that school in the midst of a pandemic would be a very different place, with different routines to follow so they stay safe. 

Teacher taking student's temperatureAt some schools, it began as parents driving students to school pulled up to the curb and were greeted by school staff wielding temperature sensors, screening students before they even got out of their cars.  At other schools, students and staff entering the building had their temperatures taken at the entrance, and parents were able to escort students to the entrance but no further, as buildings were closed to parents and visitors. 

Student washing handsMasks were mandatory and social distancing de rigueur.  Teachers constantly reminded students to keep their masks over their noses, stay seated at their socially-distanced desks, and stand further apart in the halls.  At Shining Stars Preschool, every child’s first stop in the classroom was at the sink, where they sang “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” while washing their hands. 

Students socially distanced in cafeteriaIn the cafeteria, partitions divided the dining areas so each class could be isolated from other students as they ate.  Students socially distanced at the long tables – but were relieved to take their masks off for a few minutes while they ate.  Custodians  swooped in as the students left to clean and sanitize the tables for use by the next class.  Recess was a welcome respite, but even there students wore masks and were asked to stay six feet apart. 

Students in grades pre-K through 3 on the hybrid model will attend classes in person four days per week.  These students generally have the most difficulty concentrating online and benefit most from in-person instruction.  Socially-distanced classroomOlder elementary students in grades 4-5 will attend in person two days a week, and all elementary students will attend classes online on Wednesdays while schools are sanitized.  Of course, parents retain the option of having their children take all their classes online.   

Middle and high school classes are still held entirely virtually.  In-person learning may be phased in at the upper grades once public health orders permit. 

For further information, our School Reentry Plan website includes detailed information about hybrid and virtual learning options, state and RRPS reentry plans, and more.