PUBLIC EDUCATION DEPARTMENT NEWS
The number of New Mexico children back in the classroom full time jumped 64% in the week ending April 3 as many returned from spring break and others moved to full reentry for the first time since school closings last spring.
Here is a breakdown based on data reported to the Public Education Department, with 77 percent of all districts and charter schools reporting:
- 83,600 out of 317,000 children in classrooms (26%), up from 29,700 (9%) a week earlier, when many districts were on spring break.
- 33,600 out of 51,000 school staff in buildings (66%), up from 14,000 (27%) a week earlier.
- About 107,000 students remained in remote learning.
The Public Education Department announced March 8 that all schools are expected to move to full reentry no later than April 5 because it is now safe to do so with protocols in place to limit viral spread.
Of New Mexico’s 192 districts, non-charters and charter schools reporting to the Department of Health, 84 (about 44%) welcomed students into classrooms every school day in the week ending April 3. That is up from 45 districts (about 23%) the week before.
All of New Mexico’s nearly 51,000 K-12 educators and school staff have been offered the vaccine as of today.
Until recently, the Department of Health vaccine registry did not distinguish between pre-K, K-12 and higher education so a precise count of K-12 educators who have been vaccinated is not available. However, about 54,650 (84%) of the nearly 65,000 pre-K through college educators in the registry have received at least one shot, and more than 40,000 (62%) are fully vaccinated.
Surveillance testing of unvaccinated, asymptomatic school staff will continue until all school staff are fully vaccinated. For the week ending April 2, 4,968 on-site school staff members (21.3%) participated in surveillance testing. That was a slight increase from the previous week, when 4,931 on-site staff members were tested. The positivity rate for staff surveillance testing dropped to .08%.
To date, no New Mexico public school has been ordered to close for 14 days and return, where appropriate, to remote learning due to COVID-19 spread signified by four or more Rapid Responses in a 14-day period.
A Rapid Response is a series of interventions designed to prevent COVID-19 spread, beginning when the New Mexico Department of Health notifies a school that an employee or student has a confirmed positive case and was on campus/in the facility during the infectious period. Read the complete COVID-19 Rapid Response Watchlist here.
Only the individual school that reaches the four-in-14 threshold is required to return to remote learning. Other schools in the same district are not impacted.
In the week ending April 2, 12 school facilities appeared on the Environment Department’s Watchlist, signifying they had at least two Rapid Responses within a 14-day period. Those school buildings are:
- Alamogordo High
- Chaparral Middle
- Cibola High
- Eldorado High
- Immanuel Lutheran School
- Petroglyph Elementary
- Volcano Vista
- Las Cruces High
- Cleveland High
- Atalaya Elementary
- Santa Fe High
- Roosevelt Middle