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NMMI considers ending on-campus classes for semester


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The New Mexico Military Institute is considering taking a step some other schools nationwide have taken in recent days by canceling all on-campus classes through the end of the spring semester, or in this case through May 7.

A teleconference meeting with the NMMI Board of Regents and NMMI senior administrators has been scheduled for 8:30 a.m. today to vote on the “emergency action” item.

On Monday, NMMI announced that it was ceasing all non-essential on-campus activities until at least April 10, in compliance with the “stay at home” executive order issued that day by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham as an attempt to limit the spread of the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19. NMMI also stated that it was notifying employees of whether they would need to report to work.

The statement from Maj. Gen. Jerry Grizzle, the president and superintendent, also said that NMMI was working to send home any remaining athletes and international students still on campus and was closing the golf course by the end of the day.

According to Col. David West, chief of staff, NMMI cadets began to receive online instruction for two weeks on Monday. He said future plans regarding online instruction also will be discussed at today’s meeting.

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The online delivery of classes was announced March 13 after Gov. Lujan Grisham’s administration announced a statewide public school closure until April 6. At that time, NMMI said that spring break would begin March 16, with the two weeks of online classes to follow and on-campus instruction and boarding expected to resume April 6. The school also closed the campus to public visitors at that time.

West chose not to give additional details about the possibility of further suspension of classes, but the possibility follows the most recent executive order that, among other stipulations, requires non-essential businesses to close their offices and even essential businesses to have as many employees as possible work at home. The order also limits gatherings to groups of five or fewer people and mandates social distancing of at least six feet between people.

Other school systems nationally have chosen to suspend on-campus classes for the remainder of the academic year, including Kansas and Virginia public K-12 schools and some colleges and universities.

Grizzle held an online forum Saturday to talk about school plans. He talked about expecting international students back as early as Sunday and remaining cadets by April 6, but added that NMMI would continue to have online instruction as well until the end of the semester to accommodate those who could not return to New Mexico due to travel bans and those whose families did not want them to return.

He also noted that the school had planned for the possibility of suspending on-campus classes for the entire semester and for holding alternatives to on-campus commencement ceremonies.

“I hope that you would expect from the military perspective that we have planned,” he said. “We have worked what the military calls ‘branches of sequels.’ We think we have anticipated about anything the governor might do, and we are ready to act accordingly as soon as we get her guidance.”

West said that the teleconference meeting is open to the general public. The number is 605-475-4000. The code is 416844#.


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