Student athletes everywhere watched their seasons dissolve during the pandemic, but there’s hope for sports to resume this spring. In New Mexico, to participate in athletics this semester, school districts must be in the hybrid phase, where students are able to attend class in person part time. Albuquerque Public Schools Superintendent Scott Elder is calling on the state to amend the rule and allow remote-learning districts to play ball.
The New Mexico Activities Association said districts need to let them know whether they’re playing by Feb. 15, but the APS Board of Education won’t be meeting to finalize when the district will reopen schools until two days after that deadline.
The state isn’t allowing districts that remain fully remote to participate in sports. Superintendent Elder said he wants APS students to be eligible while the district makes strides towards reopening, and that the state’s Public Education Department should reconsider the rule. “And I really would call on a lot of people to let the New Mexico PED understand that they really see the value in allowing children to participate,” he said.
Albuquerque’s school district is the largest in New Mexico, and Elder said it’s not clear how the statewide seasons can function without 13 APS high schools. “I’m really curious: If APS isn’t allowed to play, who exactly are they going to play against?” he asked. “And I know that other large districts are in the same position as we are and they’re asking the same question."
Earlier this week, the board of the New Mexico Activities Association approved a revised calendar with football, volleyball and cross country starting on Feb. 22, and soccer on March 1. If not in hybrid mode by the start of the season, districts can join late.