Coronavirus Update

Latest Updates on School Closures, Information Hotline, Meal Access, and More
Posted on 03/27/2020

Update: 11AM Friday, March 27:

Good morning RRPS Community,

Today, in collaboration with the Governor’s Office and the New Mexico Department of Health, the New Mexico Department of Public Education (NMPED) announced that the mandatory school closure has been extended to now include the remainder of this school year (2019-2020 School Year), which was set to end on May 20. This new announcement means that your students will not return to their classrooms for the current school year.

We have received further guidance and direction from the New Mexico Public Education Department and would like to provide some information about how RRPS will move forward with your student’s education during the closure. In addition, we would like to update you on plans for high school seniors on track to graduate this year. Below you will find more details and direction:

Online Distance Learning & Chromebook Requests/Distribution: A complete and detailed plan is being finalized by the district leadership team and we will communicate the online learning and Chromebook distribution plan with parents/guardians in greater detail next week via email, phone call, website and social media messaging.

Student Meal Service: Student Grab-n-go meal service will continue as it has been at the designated distribution sites, during scheduled hours, for the remainder of the school year. For more details visit https://www.rrps.net/departments/administration/chief_of_staff___engagement/parent_and_community_resources

Graduation and Proms: All scheduled graduation ceremonies for May and all high school proms have been cancelled for the 2019-2020 school year. We will consider postponing the graduation ceremonies to a date when the public health order will allow for them later in the Summer or year. Seniors on track for graduation this school year will be provided other opportunities to demonstrate competency for graduation. Details on this will be provided in the online learning plan message to parents/guardians next week.

As new information becomes available, and the district continues to finalize plans focused on the NMPED’s recommendations and requirements, we will be sure update all parents/guardians via email, our website at www.rrps.net and via our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/RioRanchoPublicSchools/

Please know that Rio Rancho Public Schools understands that this is a significant change for not only our students and staff, but also for parents in our community. We will continue to partner with you during these unprecedented times to ensure we meet the academic, emotional, and social needs of our students and our community.

Sincerely,

Dr. V. Sue Cleveland

Rio Rancho Public Schools Superintendent



Update: 1 PM Monday, March 16:

Good afternoon RRPS Parents and Staff,

With the first day of the school closure underway, Rio Rancho Public Schools would like to share with you the following information about the District Office operations and a resource hotline that we have set up for district parents and staff.

RESOURCE HOTLINE: Those who need to be connected to resources (food, baby formula, medical care, behavioral health services, etc.) may call the Rio Rancho Public Schools District Office hotline at (505) 896-0667 (Monday through Thursday, March 16-26, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.) Our team will do what we can to connect you to resources and/or put out a call for assistance for you on our social media and with our partners. We understand that these can be stressful times and we would like to do what we can to assist and relieve stress by providing resources or connecting parents and staff to resources should they need them.

DISTRICT OFFICE: The RRPS District Office will remain in operation from March 16 through March 26 on the following schedule and limitations:

  • Closed to the public
  • Non-Essential staff are working remotely from home
  • Essential staff are scheduled on a rotating basis
  • Staff will be available on the hotline Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. through March 26
  • District Office will be closed March 27-April 5 (Regularly scheduled Spring Break)


As a reminder, the following are available:

CHILD MEAL ACCESS: During the three-week mandatory school closure, grab-n-go breakfast and lunches will be made available to children up to the age of 18. As with our summer meal program, all children must be in the vehicle with the adult picking up the meals in order for us to release the meals. We will provide both breakfast and lunch in a grab-n-go format at the same time. Find locations and meal service times at https://www.rrps.net/cms/One.aspx?portalId=131387&pageId=7535116

OTHER RESOURCES: Rio Rancho Public Schools understands that students will be looking for activities to keep them occupied during the three-week school closure. To assist to keep their minds occupied and provide an educational outlet for them, we have created a child resource web: https://www.rrps.net/cms/One.aspx?portalId=131387&pageId=7535116 . This page will be regularly updated during the school closure.

COMMUNICATIONS:

Updates will be posted on the RRPS Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/RioRanchoPublicSchools

Updates will also be posted on the web at: https://www.rrps.net Just click on the Coronavirus image at the top of the homepage.

ADHERE TO RECOMMENDATIONS: Please remember that in order for Rio Rancho Public Schools and the State of New Mexico to prevent the spread of Coronavirus in our communities, we must all participate in social isolation and work together. Let’s all make smart decisions, as the decisions we make not only impact our own families, but all families within our community. Remain calm, stay informed and be smart about preventive measures.

Sincerely,

Dr. V. Sue Cleveland

Rio Rancho Public Schools Superintendent


Update sent 5 PM Friday, March 13:

Good afternoon RRPS Parents,

 

Much has developed over the last 24 hours related to our state and community battle to prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). I have much information to share with you related to the school closure, meal access, athletic events, childcare, District Office operations, child resources, school year calendar and testing window.

SCHOOL CLOSURE:

This morning, Governor Lujan Grisham and New Mexico PED Secretary Stewart reconfirmed that all public schools in New Mexico will be placed on a mandatory closure from March 16 through April 5.  This three-week closure will assist to prevent the spread of Coronavirus and allow schools to disinfect and deeply clean all facilities and school buses.

CHILD MEAL ACCESS:

During the three-week mandatory school closure, grab-n-go breakfast and lunches will be made available to children up to the age of 18 at the following locations:

  • Rio Rancho Middle School (11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.)
  • Ernest Stapleton Elementary School (11 a.m. to 12 p.m.)
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School (11am to 12 p.m.)
  • Puesta del Sol Elementary School (11am to 12 p.m.)
  • Colinas del Norte Elementary School (11:30 to 12:30 p.m.)
  • Sandia Vista Elementary School (11 a.m. to 12 p.m.)
  • Lincoln Middle School (11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.)

As with our summer meal program, all children must be in the vehicle with the adult picking up the meals in order for us to release the meals. We will provide both breakfast and lunch in a grab-n-go format at the same time.

ATHLETIC EVENTS:

The New Mexico Activities Association (NMAA) has postponed the State Spirit Championships and suspended all activity programs and Spring athletic programs until further notice. This includes practices, as well as contests and/or events.

CHILDCARE:

Though the Governor’s Office announced that all childcare and daycare facilities within the school districts will remain open, the S.A.F.E. Before and After-School Program is not one of those programs. Therefore, the S.A.F.E. program will be closed and will not operate during the three-week school closure.

DISTRICT OFFICE OPERATIONS:

The RRPS District Office will remain in operation March 16-27. March 30-April 3 is Spring Break for RRPS and the District Office will be closed. We will provide additional information about District Office operations next week.

CHILD RESOURCES:

Rio Rancho Public Schools understands that students will be looking for activities to keep them occupied during the three-week school closure. To assist to keep their minds occupied and provide an educational outlet for them, we are creating a new child resource web page with activities you can use. You may access this web page at: https://www.rrps.net/cms/One.aspx?portalId=131387&pageId=7535116 . This page will be regularly updated during the school closure.

SCHOOL YEAR CALENDAR:

As announced at the Governor’s press conference    this morning, NMPED Secretary Stewart stated that NMPED will waive the academic hours requirement so school districts will not have to make up the three weeks of the closure. This means we will remain on the current school calendar.

TESTING WINDOW (INCLUDING PSAT/SAT):

NMPED Secretary Stewart announced that the testing window will be pushed back to accommodate the school closures. This means that students will not lose testing preparation time and the test dates will be pushed back. We do not have details on the new testing dates yet, but we will provide those as soon as they become available.

REMINDERS:

As a reminder, these RRPS mandates are still in effect:

  • All student field trips (whether in-state or out-of-state) are cancelled or postponed for March and April, or until the Governor lifts the Public Health Emergency status for New Mexico. 
  • All fine arts performances (whether in-state or out-of-state) are cancelled or postponed for March and April, or until the Governor lifts the Public Health Emergency status for New Mexico. 
  • All three high school proms and school dances are cancelled or postponed for March and April, or until the Governor lifts the Public Health Emergency status for New Mexico.
  • The Phoenix and Crimson dinner banquets are cancelled or postponed until the Governor lifts the Public Health Emergency status for New Mexico.
  • Only essential school volunteers and visitors will be permitted on school campuses for March and April, or until the Governor lifts the Public Health Emergency status for New Mexico.
  • All district-sponsored out-of-state travel for students and staff members is cancelled or postponed until further notice.
  • All school-sponsored community or parent events at our schools are cancelled or postponed for March and April, or until the Governor lifts the Public Health Emergency status for New Mexico. (e.g. Parent University on March 12, RRPS Pow Wow, Transition Expo, etc)

Please know that it was difficult to make these decisions on restrictions for our school district. However, safety is our top priority and given the growing number of cases of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) across the nation and in New Mexico, we feel this is the right decision.

COMMUNICATIONS:

Many parents continue to provide us with valuable questions through our RRPS Facebook page. I encourage you to continue to do this so our communications team can work to include answers to your questions in future updates. You may find our RRPS Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/RioRanchoPublicSchools

In addition, our communications team has created a web page dedicated to Coronavirus updates that you can view to get the latest information as it relates to RRPS. In addition, the site will also contain community updates, resources and frequently asked questions. You may find that web page at: https://www.rrps.net by clicking on the Coronavirus image at the top of the homepage.

UPDATES FROM THE PRESIDENT & GOVERNOR:

Today, President Trump announced that he is declaring the coronavirus pandemic a national emergency. Doing so frees up nearly $50 billion for state and local governments to respond to the outbreak. The President also waived interest on federally held student loans and gave Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar emergency authorities to waive federal regulations and laws to give doctors and hospitals flexibility in treating patients.

In addition, the President also announced a new public-private partnership to expand coronavirus testing capabilities. The partnership will include drive-through testing in some locations and an online portal to screen those seeking to get tested.

This morning Governor Lujan Grisham reconfirmed the three-week public school closure and addressed many questions from both the public and reporters. In her address, ultimately the message was that the measures being put in place will only work to prevent the spread of Coronavirus if New Mexico families take this situation seriously and participate in social isolation. The school closures and other measures are part of the aggressive proactive approach the State is taking to combat Coronavirus.

BUSINESS PARTNERSHIPS:

We urge businesses to partner with us, so we may work together to keep our families and students safe. Any flexibility businesses can provide to working families in Rio Rancho will assist during the three-week school closure. We understand that the measures being taken will impact everyone and we need your partnership.

SMART DECISIONS & STAY INFORMED:

Please remember that in order for Rio Rancho Public Schools and the State of New Mexico to prevent the spread of Coronavirus in our communities, we must all participate and work together. Let’s all make smart decisions around whether or not to travel at this time. The decisions we make not only impact our own families, but all families within our community. Remain calm, stay informed and be smart about preventive measures.

Sincerely,

Dr. V. Sue Cleveland

Rio Rancho Public Schools Superintendent


Update: 3/12/20 6:30 PM

Rio Rancho Public Schools has just been informed by the New Mexico Department of Public Education (NMPED) that there will be a mandatory statewide school closure for three weeks, beginning on Monday, March 16. 

 

We are still in the process of gathering information related to this. As we learn more and receive further guidance from the NMPED, we will be sure to share that information with you.

As with other updates, we will notify you via email, our Facebook page and our website. Our communications team has created a web page dedicated to Coronavirus updates that you can view to get the latest information as it relates to RRPS. You may find that web page at: https://www.rrps.net by clicking on the Coronavirus image at the top of the homepage.

Please know that Rio Rancho Public Schools will continue to place the education, safety and well-being of our students and staff as our first priority. Again, we ask that you remain calm, become educated, and make smart decisions to protect our community.

Sincerely,

Dr. V. Sue Cleveland

Rio Rancho Public Schools Superintendent



Update: 3/12/20  3:30 PM
Additional Postponements/Cancellations of School Activities

 

Good afternoon RRPS Parents,

     Again today, New Mexico and Rio Rancho Public Schools have encountered some new developments in our work to aggressively and proactively prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in our community. Because student health, safety and well-being is our top priority, it’s important for us to keep you up-to-date. Below you’ll find the latest updates from Governor Lujan Grisham’s Office and from Rio Rancho Public Schools.

MARCH 12 UPDATE FROM GOVERNOR LUJAN GRISHAM’S OFFICE:

Today, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that because of the newest presumptive positive cases of Coronavirus COVID-19, she is issuing a public health order prohibiting congregations of more than 100 people. This order was issued out of an abundance of caution and is meant to maximize social distancing.

For schools, this order means cancelling or rescheduling assemblies, school performances, and sporting events with anticipated attendance of more than 100 people. Complying with the order will also require schools to take all practical measures to limit crowds for activities such as lunch, while continuing to provide educational services. In addition, the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) has recommended that schools suspend all volunteer activities involving high risk populations, e.g. seniors and individuals with weakened immune systems.

Along with the Governor’s announcement, the New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED) also provided preparedness procedures schools can take and the department continues to recommend promoting good hygiene as one of the most important steps community residents can take right now.

UPDATE FROM RIO RANCHO PUBLIC SCHOOLS:

Rio Rancho Public Schools would like to let all of our student parents, guardians and staff know that we support the direction the state has chosen to take with an aggressive proactive approach to preventing the spread of Coronavirus in our state and in our community.

With today’s announcement, Rio Rancho Public Schools is suspending or prohibiting the following, effective immediately:

  • All athletic events, at home or away, through March 15, 2020, are cancelled or postponed. This cancellation of athletic events during this timeframe includes all FUA’s and any outside organization that uses RRPS athletic facilities. Athletic practices for RRPS students may still take place. (further guidance will be coming on athletic events after this weekend).
  • All student field trips (whether in-state or out-of-state) are cancelled or postponed for March and April, or until the Governor lifts the Public Health Emergency status for New Mexico.
  • All fine arts performances (whether in-state or out-of-state) are cancelled or postponed for March and April, or until the Governor lifts the Public Health Emergency status for New Mexico.
  • Both high school proms and school dances are cancelled or postponed for March and April, or until the Governor lifts the Public Health Emergency status for New Mexico.
  • The Phoenix and Crimson dinner banquets are cancelled or postponed until the Governor lifts the Public Health Emergency status for New Mexico.
  • The “A Jazz Night” Fundraiser is cancelled or postponed until the Governor lifts the Public Health Emergency status for New Mexico.
  • The Houses for Hounds project build scheduled for March 27 is cancelled or postponed until the Governor lifts the Public Health Emergency status for New Mexico.
  • Only essential school volunteers and visitors will be permitting on school campuses either for March and April, or until the Governor lifts the Public Health Emergency status for New Mexico.

    Please know that the above list of specific events it not exhaustive, but we wanted to cover those that came up in specific parent questions. In addition, as a reminder of what we communicated yesterday, the following are still in effect:

  • All district-sponsored out-of-state travel for students and staff members is cancelled or postponed until further notice.
  • All school-sponsored community or parent events at our schools are cancelled or postponed for March and April, or until the Governor lifts the Public Health Emergency status for New Mexico. (e.g. Parent University on March 12, RRPS Pow Wow, Transition Expo, etc)

Please know that it was difficult to make these decisions on restrictions for our school district. However, safety is our top priority and given the growing number of cases of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) across the nation and in New Mexico, we feel this is the right decision.

ALL SCHOOLS WILL BE CLOSED ON MARCH 18:

In addition to the new restrictions, RRPS is continuing to take steps to help ensure we do our part to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. Part of these efforts includes a newly scheduled in-service day for our staff. All schools will now be CLOSED for staff in-service training on Wednesday, March 18. The S.A.F.E. before and after school program will also be closed on this date. We know that you may need to locate child care for this date so we wanted to make you aware of it as soon as the decision was made.

On March 18, Rio Rancho Public Schools will be closed to students so we can provide training to staff on remote learning, should this become necessary in the coming days. In addition, our Facilities Department and Student Transportation Department staff will be coordinating additional disinfection/deep cleaning of our buses and schools.

Many parents continue to provide us with valuable questions through our RRPS Facebook page. I encourage you to continue to do this so our communications team can work to include answers to your questions in future updates. You may find our RRPS Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/RioRanchoPublicSchools In addition, our communications team has created a web page dedicated to Coronavirus updates that you can view to get the latest information as it relates to RRPS. In addition, the site will also contain community updates, resources and frequently asked questions. You may find that web page at: https://www.rrps.net by clicking on the Coronavirus image at the top of the homepage.

Please know that Rio Rancho Public Schools will continue to place the education, safety and well-being of our students and staff as our first priority. The decisions we make now, and in the future, are ways for us to take an aggressive and proactive approach to prevent and manage Coronavirus. We ask that you remain calm, become educated, and make smart decisions to protect our community.

Sincerely,

Dr. V. Sue Cleveland

Rio Rancho Public Schools Superintendent


Message sent 3/11/20
Coronavirus Update: RRPS Restricts Out-of-State Travel, Parent and Community Events 


On Wednesday, March 11, 2020 our state and school district encountered some significant developments related to Coronavirus (COVID-19).  Out of an abundance of caution and in the interest of limiting as much as possible the spread of the Covid-19 virus, please note the following steps are being taken by the state and by RRPS. 

 

 

UPDATE FROM GOVERNOR LUJAN GRISHAM’S OFFICE:

Today, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that three New Mexico residents have tested positive for Coronavirus COVID-19, the first confirmed cases in the state.

In light of this new development in the spread of Coronavirus, Governor Lujan Grisham has declared a Public Health Emergency in our State. In doing so, the governor has freed up emergency funding, empowered the General Services Department to ensure goods continue to flow and empowered the NM Department of Health to take the lead on the control of the Coronavirus spread containment. In addition, the governor also issued the following mandates for the State.

  • All State of New Mexico-sponsored employee out-of-state travel is cancelled effective immediately
  • All State of New Mexico non-essential employees are to telecommute/telework effective immediately
  • All large State of New Mexico-sponsored events are cancelled, including events such as the Gathering of Nations

In the press conference, Governor Lujan Grisham made several recommendations to New Mexico residents, including:

  • Continue to limit your exposure to Coronavirus by washing your hands with soap, using hand sanitizer
  • Disinfect commonly used items in the household and at work
  • Limit your exposure to large crowds and groups by not attending community events or meetings unless necessary
  • Stay home if you are feeling ill and report symptoms
  • Be proactive, limit exposure and make smart decisions

UPDATE FROM RIO RANCHO PUBLIC SCHOOLS:

Rio Rancho Public Schools would like to let all of our student parents/guardians and staff know that we support the direction the state has chosen to take and appreciate the efforts of our Governor to help keep New Mexicans healthy and safe. Therefore, as of today, Wednesday, March 11, 2020, Rio Rancho Public Schools is suspending or prohibiting the following:

  • All district-sponsored out-of-state travel and field trips for students and staff members are cancelled or postponed until further notice.
  • All school-sponsored community or parent events at our schools are cancelled or postponed for March and April, or until the Governor lifts the Public Health Emergency status for New Mexico. (e.g. Parent University on March 12, RRPS Pow Wow, Transition Expo, etc)

At this time, all in-state travel/field trips, performing arts/fine arts events at schools and athletic events will continue as planned. We are working with the New Mexico Activities Association and the State of New Mexico Public Education Department to evaluate such events and will render a decision soon on whether or not those will continue.

The Spanish Language Spelling Bee and the Orchestra Concert scheduled for Thursday, March 12 will continue as planned. In addition, the Choir Concert scheduled for this evening (March 11) will also continue as planned.

Please know that this was a difficult decision to make, as we considered the opportunities that staff members and students would miss. However, safety is our top priority and given the growing number of cases of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) across the nation, we feel this is the right decision.

In addition to the new event and travel restrictions, RRPS is continuing to take steps to help ensure we do our part to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. As mentioned in previous messages to you, the school district does have a Pandemic Flu Plan in place. There are five stages to the RRPS Pandemic Flu Plan, which are:

o   Level 1 - Prevention

o   Level 2 - Protection

o   Level 3 - Mitigation

o   Level 4 - Response

o   Level 5 – Recovery

Today, the New Mexico Department of Health has increased their plan level to Level 2 – Protection. However, they have not asked that we increase our plan level to Level 2 yet. Because we take our direction from the State, RRPS will remain at Level 1-Prevention of our Pandemic Flu Plan. We will remain in contact with the Department of Health and be on the ready to escalate our plan level should we be given such direction.

While still under Level 1 of our Pandemic Flu Plan, we are doing the following along with reminding students, staff and the public about proper handwashing, cleaning frequently used surfaces, etc.

  • On March 4, we held mandatory custodial training we refreshed training on proper sanitizing procedures.
  • All Elementary Schools were thoroughly disinfected on March 5 and 6 during the school closure for parent-teacher conferences.
  • We are planning to thoroughly disinfect all middle schools and high schools during Spring Break
  • Our Facilities Department has ordered adequate amounts of hand sanitizer and associated stations for any schools or locations that do not already have them
  • Our Facilities Department warehouse is fully stocked up on hand soap
  • Our Facilities Department has ordered four electric atomizer backpack sprayers for sanitizing large areas of our schools and will await approval from Leadership to mist all schools; Once fully trained and operational, these four electric atomizer backpacks will allow us to thoroughly sanitize three schools each evening.
  • Our Facilities Department is forming an Emergency Response Team to handle the changing needs of this situation. 
  • The IT Department has purchased digital friendly sanitizing devices for use in schools on shared computers, Chromebooks, keyboards and other computer equipment.
  • The Student Transportation Department is working on finalizing plans to do a thorough sanitizing of buses in addition to the regular cleaning schedule.

Many parents have provided us with questions on our RRPS Facebook page. We have a meeting with the State of New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) tomorrow where we are hoping to secure answers to many of the parent questions. Some of those questions surround procedures for immunocompromised students and staff, absences, further school visitor restrictions, school closures and offering online instruction versus in-person instruction. At this time, we are unable to thoroughly answer those questions, but will update you after our meeting tomorrow with the PED.

Please know that Rio Rancho Public Schools, like the Governor’s Office and State, is taking an aggressive proactive approach to prevent and manage Coronavirus. The health and safety of our students, staff and community is our top priority. We ask that you remain calm, make smart decisions and bear with us as we cancel or postpone certain events to further protect the community.