Rio Rancho Public Schools to implement enhanced COVID-19 safety protocols

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RIO RANCHO, N.M. — Rio Rancho Public Schools will be implementing enhanced COVID-19 safety protocols starting on Monday, Jan. 24.

Until further notice, the following new protocols will be implemented:

  • Visitors will no longer be allowed on campus
  • No large group gatherings (No assemblies, no staff meetings, no large events, including the High School Science Expo, CTE Career Fair, IHS Open House, and elementary/middle school music recruiting trips.)
  • These and other events may be canceled, postponed or moved to virtual
  • Recess times and spaces will be staggered and separated
  • Masking rules will be strictly enforced at events with spectators. Those who do not comply with proper mask-wearing will be removed from the facility

Those enhancements are in addition to the existing safety protocols:

  • Universal masking indoors
  • Masks are available for individuals who may need them
  • Isolation room used to separate COVID positive and potentially positive individuals from others
  • Appropriate PPE is available for staff
  • Staff surveillance testing program
  • Student surveillance testing program
  • Enhanced air filtration and HVAC in school facilities
  • Staff and students trained on safe transitions
  • Seating charts for all classes
  • Seating charts for all school buses
  • Students and staff have access to hand-washing stations and/or hand sanitizer
  • Students facing one way in classroom seating
  • Visual cues to encourage social distancing
  • Regular deep cleaning/disinfecting of facilities and buses

"We feel that, at this time, the addition of these enhanced COVID-19 safety protocols will allow us to provide a safer environment for our students and staff while continuing to provide in-person learning," RRPS officials said in a release sent to families. "We are hopeful that this newest variant of COVID-19 will peak in our community soon, leading to a decline in cases which would allow us to eventually loosen safety restrictions. "

On Tuesday, 400 RRPS staff members across the district were not able to come into work, which is 16% of all staff (a number that does include vacancies that aren’t because of COVID). At Rio Rancho High School alone, 321 students were absent Thursday, which is 13% of the student population.

RRPS hasn’t gone virtual this school year. The district has managed to stay in person since August.

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