The New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED) tasked all school districts with developing a COVID mitigation plan. School district’s plans had to outline the enhanced interventions that will take place once a school gets to a 3% positivity rate and a 5% positivity rate within a 14-day period, based on the total number of students and staff at each school. This comes after a NMPED decision that schools would no longer need to close after four rapid responses in a two-week period. The T-or-C Municipal School District released the plan it is submitting to NMPED on Tuesday, September 7.
The district plan is published in full on the Sentinel’s Web Edition and the school district’s web page.
Mitigation provisions in the plan include all the mitigation measures in effect since the school year began, such as universal face masks, frequent hand washing, touchless water fountains and enhanced air filtration systems at all schools, as well as other.
On reaching a 3-percent positivity rate at a school enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of all tables and desks will be done, electrostatic fogging of every classroom on a daily basis and temperature scanning and steps taken to increase ventilation in classrooms.
At the 5-percent positivity rate, further steps will be taken in addition to those already in place. They include: No indoor staff or group meetings, visitors to schools confined to the front office only, stop the usage of water fountains, voluntary surveillance testing of staff and minimize restroom use to no more than three at a time.
If the positivity rate climbs above 5-percent there would be additional steps taken. These include: Affected schools shifting to remote learning for two days to allow for thorough cleaning and disinfecting, increased physical distancing, no visitors allowed in the building and meal delivery or pick-up. In all cases, Special Education students will continue to receive in-person support and services on school campuses.
Outdoor learning is included in the district’s plan. Steps include encouraging teachers to use all outdoor spaces, such as courtyards, athletic fields and other spaces for learning activities. Ordering two outdoor canopies for each school, with tables and chairs, to enable conducting outdoor classes.
In releasing the mitigation plan, District Superintendent Dr. Segura stated, “We developed the plan to make sure that we are doing our best to ensure safe and healthy schools. I know that it is frustrating to have to remind our students (and some staff) to wear their masks correctly, but this is how we will avoid mass quarantines of students and staff. I appreciate your diligence to make sure we can all remain in the school setting.”