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First Week Back at Ortiz Middle School

Last week schools in Santa Fe started to move to a hybrid academic schedule. Site Coordinator, Luis Burrola was on campus to welcome students back to Ortiz Middle School. With just about a week back on campus, he shares a little about the experience:

Hybrid Classes:

Ortiz Middle School prioritized the return to campus by first reaching out to students with an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP), students classified as English Language Learners (ELL) and students that did not have adequate WiFi connectivity at home. There are approximately 100 students on campus, representing around 20% of the school's enrollment. Currently, 7th and 8th grade teachers are available to hold classes for these students. Sixth graders are in Cyber Cafes and attending classes on their computers. This allows students a new place to study and the chance to (safely) socialize during breaks!

There are air filters in every room, floors are marked to measure proper distancing, and students are expected to wear masks at all times. "The students seem to feel safe at school," commented Luis, "I have not heard anyone express concern about getting COVID".

"Asking students to wear masks all the time has been easier than I expected. What I notice most, is that students are having a difficult time engaging socially," commented Luis. "They have been apart for so long. Last week when students were outside during their lunch break, you could hear a pin drop, it was so quiet. Normally there is a lot of chatter during lunch!"

Luis has been reaching out to a lot of 6th graders since this is their first time on campus. "Even though these kids have been taking classes all year, this is their FIRST DAY of school on campus! Sixth graders are learning what it is like to be a middle schooler. This is a stressful time for them."

"I had one student ask me if I would keep him company during lunch. A lot of new kids are texting me to hang out during breaks and asking me to be their friend. I know this is a great opportunity to establish strong connections with them!"

Luis has been the Communities In Schools Site Coordinator at Ortiz for five years. Since Covid forced school closures last March, Luis has been engaging with students and families providing much needed basic needs and essential supports for all Ortiz students like weekly groceries, emergency financial support, tutoring, technical support and social emotional support.

"It is great to be back on campus. The teachers are really committed to bringing students back to the classroom. For me, it is a great way to reach out to students and help them know that we are here to support them!"

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