Four Additional Counties Meet Required Health Conditions For Schools To Reopen


Four additional New Mexico counties have now met the required health conditions for schools to reopen in a hybrid mode, according to the state’s updated COVID-19 map.

The Department of Health map released Thursday shows McKinley, Hidalgo, Doña Ana and Curry counties have moved into the “green zone” — which indicates an acceptable rate of average daily cases and test positivity. Those four counties were each yellow or red when the previous map was issued two weeks ago.

Schools in these counties are now eligible to bring elementary students back for in-person learning in the hybrid model, assuming they have a PED-approved reentry plan and have the requisite safety supplies, processes and assurances in place.

Even then, districts and charters may decide to remain in the remote-learning mode indefinitely, as many are doing.

Catron County moved from the “green zone” into the “red zone” compared to the previous report. However, in order to maintain consistency of operations, schools that have already reopened in Catron County will not be required to close. The goal is to prevent communities from repeatedly moving back and forth between being open and being closed.

Instead, PED and DOH will continue to closely monitor conditions in the county. Should those worsen to a point where public health officials determine a closure is necessary, schools will be notified and given a window of time in which they can complete an orderly transition back to remote learning.

The DOH updates its COVID-19 Average Daily Case Rates and Test Positivity Rates by County every two weeks.

Twenty-five counties were in the green zone on Sept. 3, and since then, about 65 elementary schools with about 12,500 students reopened in the hybrid mode.