Hospitals, schools prepared for new state mandate

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Hospitals and school districts in the metro are responding to the latest round of state mandates with feelings of confidence.

Albuquerque Public Schools and Rio Rancho schools said they are ready to face a staff shortage – if some staff members get sick or quit because of the mandate – but haven’t seen their numbers change yet.

Rio Rancho schools has 180 active substitute teachers who could step in if needed.

"We’ll just keep doing what we’re doing to keep our schools open,” said Whitney Holland, the president of New Mexico’s chapter of the American Federation of Teachers. “It feels like common sense, it feels rooted in science, it’s following best practice and CDC recommendations. We just want our school buildings open."

As for hospitals – UNM, Presbyterian, and Lovelace all said they are ready to handle the changes that might come with this new mandate. Representatives said a majority of their staff is already fully vaccinated.

NMDOH also responded with the following statement:

“Roughly 90% of doctors and nurses in New Mexico are vaccinated, and we have no indications at this point that we’re likely to see a large number of vacant positions. We expect that the vast majority of health care workers will make the responsible, science-based choice: getting vaccinated is safe, and it will save lives.”

A NMDOH representative said the Medical Reserve Corps has 1,351 registered nurses ready to step in, and 5,000 medical and non-medical volunteers at the ready as well.