LAS CRUCES, NM (KTSM) — A Las Cruces middle school is heading to the Nation’s Capital this week for a national competition, but the trip is causing concern for guardians over whether students are at risk of being exposed to the coronavirus.
Some 8th-grade students from Sierra Middle School will be traveling to Washington D.C. alongside students from Mesa Middle School and Las Cruces High School.
The trip is set to happen as we see a rise in coronavirus cases across the country, and some said it’s not worth the risk.
Beverly Gutierrez, a grandmother to an 8th-grade student at Sierra MS, said she’s concerned about the trip because it carries a potential exposure risk as the coronavirus continues to pop up in communities across the United States.
“What if that child brings the disease into the home, the grandparents are dead, what is this going to do for the foster care situations and why take a chance was my big issue,” Gutierrez said.
Gutierrez shared she asked the school to cancel or postpone the trip, but told KTSM that’s not happening, “I think a child will recover from not getting to go on a trip faster than realizing that because they gave this illness to a grandparent who died, that’s a lifelong thing.”
Las Cruces Public Schools said it’s kept up communication with parents about the coronavirus and has been sending them the latest updates from the New Mexico Department of Health who follow guidelines from the CDC.
Gutierrez said in order to avoid any risks, she plans to keep her granddaughter away from school when students return from the trip, “I don’t think that school absences are the issue that needs to be addressed. I think remote learning, keeping the education going while kids are at home and there are several parents who have concerns about this.”
According to the CDC, there’s been one confirmed case of coronavirus in D.C.
Gutierrez told KTSM she hopes a plan to remove any risk can be put in place once students return back home.
“It’s going to be a whole lot easier to quarantine those kids that come back than this entire school and everybody they’ve been exposed to after the fact. It just takes one. It just takes one,” Gutierrez said.
KTSM reached out to LCPS for information on how the district is planning to address safety precautions upon the student’s return. They have not gotten back to us as of our deadline.
Prior to the planned trip, LCPS has also sent hard copy letters to parents informing them of all the coronavirus updates, safety practices, hygiene tips, and guidelines.
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