Superintendent Announces Suspected COVID Case At Barranca Mesa Elementary Tested Negative


Los Alamos Public Schools Supt. Kurt Steinhaus has announced to LAPS parents and families that the test results for an employee suspected of having COVID-19 were negative for the virus.

“Although the test was negative, the staff member was symptomatic. Therefore, the guidance, consistent with the New Mexico Department of Health and CDC, is that the staff member stay at home for at least 10 days and until they have had no fever for more than 24 hours and all other symptoms are declining,” Steinhaus said. 

He said since the NMPED COVID-19 Toolkit does not have a decision tree for this type of situation, he received advice from DOH that LAPS use its best judgment and do everything possible to minimize the risk. 

“We will follow his advice and proceed with an abundance of caution,” Steinhaus said.

He said the incident gave LAPS staff another opportunity to implement their systems for safety and communications. 

“We were able to identify what worked well and areas for improvement. For example, the District Leadership Team responded quickly, staff and parents were notified in a timely manner, cleaning teams disinfected all spaces, and staff had access to DOH testing. One of the areas for improvement is to use correct terminology in communications,” Steinhaus said.

A previous message to parents noted that there was a “presumptive” case at the school. Presumptive usually means the person has already tested positive at a local level.