School-based COVID-19 cases drop 37% amid new protocols

[anvplayer video=”5056845″ station=”998127″]

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — There was nearly a 40% decrease in COVID-19 cases in schools last week, according to the New Mexico Public Education Department.

Last week 504 students and staff members were reported infectious on campus, compared to 806 the week before.

NMPED Secretary Kurt Steinhaus said they are doing a number of things to keep students safe:

  • School staff who are not vaccinated are required to get tested for COVID-19 weekly.
  • The NMPED is working to increase testing options including onsite testing for staff and students.
  • Districts are working on enhanced COVID-19 protocol plans with the goal to keep schools from closing or going to remote learning.

"We have not had a lot of discussion about any statewide transition to remote (learning)," Steinhaus said. "We hope we don’t have to do that. If you look at the research about how kids learn, and if you’re a parent, you know this, in-person learning just works better. So that will continue to be our focus as we move forward."

Those enhanced COVID-19 protocol plans could include alternative learning options though – if COVID-19 cases get too high. There’s the possibility of outdoor learning or even limiting attendance at extracurricular activities. Districts have until Oct. 1 to submit those plans.

Education officials said the test positivity rate is the lowest it’s been since the start of the school year.