As NM schools reopen, mask mandates could affect enrollment numbers

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Enrollment numbers are in question as New Mexico schools welcome students back.

Albuquerque Public Schools representatives said they feel ready and equipped to resume in-person teaching this fall.

“Right now, we are in pretty good shape to be able to keep our routine maintenance of all, of our supplies because we weren’t in school. We have a million masks, we have thousands of gallons of hand sanitizer and cleaner, so we are really well-prepared, where this time last year, we were worried we would run out of supply, but we are really well-prepared to keep our classrooms safe," said Gabrielle Blakely, Ph. D.

With the COVID-19 vaccines only approved for 12 to 17-year-olds, the state’s Department of Health said 40% of New Mexico’s children are fully vaccinated, and another 52% have one shot so far.

APS said they will be enforcing the mask policy for everyone on every campus, no matter the person’s vaccination status.

While Rio Rancho public schools have a ‘mask pass’ allowing middle school and high school teachers and students to skip wearing a mask, if they provide vaccination proof and carry a separate ‘mask pass’ at all times in school.

The Public Education Department relaxed polices including ditching plastic dividers, shared gym equipment is now okay. The big change is quarantine rules previously, if one student had COVID, the entire classroom would have to leave school, now only their close contacts have to quarantine.

APS said they won’t have the difference in enrollment numbers for another couple of weeks whether it be virtual or in person.

Rio Rancho public schools said enrollment was up but couldn’t give the official numbers yet, but revealed a little more than 250 students decided to stay virtual this year.

APS says they won’t have the difference in enrollment numbers for another couple of weeks—whether it be virtual or in person.