Dear SkillsUSA New Mexico,
I hope this message finds you in good health and spirits during these trying and difficult times. In light of the current health issues and concerns resulting from the coronavirus (COVID-19), SkillsUSA New Mexico has made the difficult decision to cancel our 2020 virtual state conference. We will still hold State Officer Elections in a virtual format next month. Reimbursements will be made for all conference registrations and/or materials fees. We will be providing more details on both in short order.
We have been following the COVID-19 outbreak closely to see what would happen and how SkillsUSA New Mexico and our fellow State Associations would be affected. As the announcements rolled in, I knew this would drastically change the way we would look at the conference. We began working with our Board of Directors and other State Directors on the idea of alternative contest formats. While we had hoped to be able to offer a virtual option, a final decision to cancel the conference in its entirety was made today. On March 27, 2020 Governor Lujan Grisham announced schools will remain closed for the rest of the academic year. On that same day, SkillsUSA canceled all in-person activities related to the National Leadership and Skills Conference. Finally, the New Mexico Activities Association also suspended all sports, activities and contests. Responding and respecting these decisions, the decision to cancel our virtual conference was not made lightly.
The idea of disappointing our students, especially the seniors and those graduating their programs this year, was not easy to digest. I still struggle with the decision, even though I know it was for the good of our organization, our communities, our partners, our advisors, and, most importantly, our students. They have already faced canceled graduations, events, and proms, and this decision is especially challenging because we don’t want it to be yet another let-down for them. We are all still facing so many uncertainties with this outbreak, and there is no telling how long our everyday lives will be interrupted – but it’s not likely it will be back to normal (whatever that is now) anytime soon. We are truly being tested on elements of the SkillsUSA framework: Adaptability and Flexibility.
As educators, you have likely adapted your entire curriculum to teach virtually and are undoubtedly missing the daily connections with your students. On any regular day, you are preparing your students for the future with such dedication, but during this unprecedented time, your value in their lives has increased exponentially. You have risen to the occasion, and I am so grateful that your students have you working so tirelessly for them. Thank you for everything and the support you continue to provide your students.
Please remain connected with us on social media and our state’s website (https://skillsusanm.org/) as we develop more specific responses and future plans to help offset the negative effects of this unprecedented occurrence. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly – I am here for you in any way that I can support.
In your service,
SkillsUSA New Mexico