APS board votes 5-1 to require masks indoors regardless of vaccination status

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The APS board voted 5-1 Wednesday evening to require all students, staff and visitors to wear masks indoors, including on buses, regardless of vaccination status.

This decision comes after the CDC issued new mask guidance Tuesday.

"I don’t want to turn, frankly, my principals or my teachers into the vaccination patrol, it strikes me that that’s just not the best idea," said Scott Elder, APS Superintendent.

Elder, while presenting the proposal to the school board members, said the top reason to make a blanket mask policy is to avoid having students in two groups — vaccinated and unvaccinated.

APS leaders worried that would be hard to enforce. They were also concerned that unvaccinated students may feel sad or frustrated about being in that group, and, overall, that it may seem like students are not being treated equally.

"They are uncertain how to identify the vaccinated students from the unvaccinated students without stigmatizing either group,” said Elder.

The New Mexico Public Education Department said their COVID-19 Response Toolkit still stands for now as they review the latest recommendations with public health colleagues.

APS will follow NMAA guidelines in allowing vaccinated athletes to play indoors without masks. Schools will also have to report COVID cases, are required to have quarantine rooms and only have large froups outside.

This is a developing story. Stay with KOB Eyewitness News 4 and KOB.com for updates.