Playgrounds remain a concern for New Mexico school districts

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Many New Mexico school districts are excited to be back to in-person learning – but some parents still have concerns when it comes to staying safe on the playground.

The state’s new education secretary said he is not an expert on transmission, but he is listening to what the experts suggest when putting together guidelines for schools.

“If you are at a place outside, where the air is flowing well, you don’t have to wear a mask and that is what the experts who are building consensus around all the data say that comes through,” said Kurt Steinhaus, the secretary of the state’s Public Education Department.

Guidelines on page 25 of the New Mexico Public Education Department’s COVID-19 toolkit, state:

"It is recommended, but not required, that unvaccinated individuals wear masks outdoors when participating in outdoor play, recess, and physical education activities."

Some schools said they are going beyond those guidelines.

“We are providing regular reminders to students about how to remain COVID-safe on playgrounds and in classrooms, including demonstrations of what six feet of social distance looks like,” said a spokesperson for Rio Rancho Public Schools.

The school said they will also try to keep students moving during recess to avoid unnecessary congregation.