BY MAIRE O’NEILL
The Public Education Department has released its Reopening Plan for New Mexico Schools. The plan may be viewed here. The 25-page document contains information on every aspect of school life under COVID-19.
Los Alamos Public Schools Supt. Kurt Steinhaus sent the plan to staff and the Safe-Start Task Force noting that he has a conference call with PED Sec. Ryan Stewart Wednesday morning and will ask as many of the staff’s questions as possible.
Steinhaus also sent out a document with frequently asked questions for review: FAQ for COVID-19 student and staff safety
Under the PED plan, the eight minimum requirements for reentry are:
- To begin, all districts and schools across the state will be able to operate strictly according to hybrid guidelines. The Department of Health and Medical Advisory Team will regularly assess rates of the spread of COVID-19. Districts and schools will then follow the appropriate guidelines based on the designated safe reentry category.
- Schools must participate in a surveillance and rapid response testing program for all staff.
- Schools must adhere to the social distancing requirements of their designated category.
- Schools should avoid large group gatherings.
- Face coverings are required for all students and staff except while eating, drinking and exercising, with limited exceptions for students or staff who have medical reasons for not being able to wear a mask or face shield.
- All staff must be screened on a daily basis, including a temperature check and review of potential symptoms. All sites must work with state and local health officials to have a plan for contact tracing. While not required, this is also recommended for students.
- For transportation, all staff and students must wear face shields or
masks. In addition: a. A maximum of two students may sit together on a bus seat. b. Schools in the yellow category should take all reasonable steps to limit bus seats to one student to the best of their ability.
- Meals must be provided to students during in-person instruction
and remote learning.