New Mexico students will be offered surveillance testing for COVID-19

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico public school students will be offered school-based surveillance testing for COVID-19. The state Public Education Department said districts and charter schools will implement testing programs as soon as possible, but no later than the week of April 26.

Testing will be completely voluntary and free. According to the PED, students who show proof of being fully vaccinated will not be asked to participate, as well as students who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days.

"This is a voluntary student surveillance testing program — it’s a service we’re putting out to the community. This will help build public confidence that schools are safe,” PED Education Secretary Ryan Stewart said. “By testing student volunteers, we can get better information about what’s happening in schools with the virus and get communication out into the community about how our precautionary measures are working.”

Officials said the goal is to test 1% of students weekly on a voluntary basis, and 10% of students participating in sports and activities.

Schools are already required to conduct surveillance testing of unvaccinated staff members — their rate of surveillance testing is determined by each county’s color on the state’s reopening map. Turquoise counties must test 5% of eligible staff per week, green and yellow counties must test 12.5% and red counties must test 25%.