Hard work is child’s play

Beginning to Answer Your Questions

Dear Escuela Community-

We thank you again for your continued communication with us. Your responses to the survey, emails and phone calls are helpful, giving us a good sense of what your concerns and desires are. Next week’s e-news will include more detailed information to answer the questions we are most often asked. Following are some of the most often asked questions and their answers: 

Q:    Do employees get screened (temperature checks, answer the questions)?

A:   You bet they do! They are asked the same questions as our students every morning.

Q:   Our Harwood Art Center: Is it open? What about artists who have studios in the Harwood building?

A:   Harwood is closed to the general public for the foreseeable future. The galleries are closed as well, and our Harwood team is working remotely. The only Harwood grant-funded program on campus is the Arts and Social Justice Apprenticeship, involving 9 people. This program occupies 6th Street Studio North and the Dining Hall in Harwood. The program has designated walking paths outside of campus to access their spaces in a way that eliminates any contact between apprenticeship participants and  students and personnel on campus. This program, funded in part by the Youth Conservation Corps has strict Covid-related guidelines and requirements which are being carried out to the letter.

With regard to Harwood Studio Artists, they must:

  1. Log their time on campus through a web-based time tracking app
  2. Obtain and maintain required personal disinfecting, sanitizing, and face covering materials
  3. Adhere to all current CDC and State guidelines on Covid-10 prevention as well as State of NM requirements: continuing to stay home when possible, washing hands frequently, cleaning surfaces, coughing into tissues, maintaining 6 foot distance, and wearing face coverings in public and in any shared environment (once inside their individual private studio, they may remove the covering)
  4. Access campus only through the Harwood Main Entrance on 7th Street or the new door into the dining hall from the Granite parking log
  5. Only access their individual workspaces and may not use any of the building’s common areas
  6. Not have any guests or conduct any in-person meetings or convenings in the Harwood building until further notice
  7. Conduct retail / pickup only through curbside transactions in the south parking lot or on 7th, adhering to CDC and state social distancing guidelines
  8. Like all New Mexicans, continue to work at home when possible and when access to specialized tools / workspaces is not required
  9. Not under any circumstances access their studios if potentially ill or has been exposed to Covid.

Harwood Art Camp has been wonderfully successful. Our summer art programs are all being run virtually, with over 300 students attending … a definite bonus of the new digital reach! I want to send a big shout-out to our Harwood Team, all of whom have worked hard to pivot our programs to distance / digital content with amazing success. We recently received $20,000 in supporting grants, thanks to their efforts!

Q:   Does Escuela have a commitment to the 50% occupancy and 6 ft. distancing guidelines for the Elementary and Jr. High programs  as per PED (Public Ed. Department)? 

A:   Yes, Escuela del Sol has the good fortune to have a campus and classrooms which allow for the implementation of 50% occupancy as well as distancing. It should be noted that the school has never implemented allowed occupancy (even pre-covid), determining that children need more space than code allows. With regard to covid-prevention, Escuela also will work on creating outdoor classroom space; one of the best methods to maintain health.

Q:   When can our community expect more clarity and specifics about how all the programs will work?

A:   There is a lot to plan and consider; our Escuela team is working  hard to finalize plans. We will provide families with a Fall Operations Guide by July 17th, at the latest.

I know you have many more questions… and we will provide answers! Please know that our goal is to provide what your children need most: to be at school five days a week. They need to be together, to learn, to collaborate, to build community; we want to continue to provide that for them — and that will take serious team effort! 

To all of you parents, guardians, relatives and friends of our children: We need to trust that each one of you will promote and implement Best Practices with regard to the Covid pandemic. Perhaps one way to think of it is that we are one big “quaranTEAM”. We will keep each other and our children safe by helping them practice wearing masks, ensuring that they wash hands well and often, minimizing interactions with people outside your family unit; in short, practice an abundance of caution. In addition, the adults must be good models: make sure your children see you wearing a mask, washing your hands and practising distancing.

As New Mexico’s Secretary of Education referenced so clearly, opening our schools will not be easy; it will require collective effort and commitment from all of us. It is also one of the greatest gifts we can provide for our children at this time.

With gratitude for your support and collaboration,

Friedje vanGils