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A shift in calculations for a 10-day quarantine of Mayfield High School students means on-campus learning can resume Thursday, April 22. The 10th day, following guidance from New Mexico Department of Health recommendations, would land on Tuesday, April 20. Since Wednesdays are still remote learning days, the soonest students could return would be Thursday, explained Las Cruces Public Schools interim superintendent Ralph Ramos. Students were originally scheduled to return April 26.
“This interruption has been a challenge,” said Ramos. “Our focus has always been on student and staff safety. To not act on the information we were given would have been irresponsible when you consider the potential impact it had on our campus populations."
Ramos reflected on the past year, and the impact COVID-19 deaths have had on LCPS.
“This district has lost eight colleagues to the COVID-19 virus, and while tough decisions had to be made, we never know what dangers we’re preventing as a result.”
Last Wednesday, the district was notified that a complaint had been filed with the governor’s office alleging a so-called secret prom had taken place at a private residence on Saturday, April 10. The complaint mentioned Mayfield High School students, but the exact number of those in attendance has not been verified. District officials have estimated it to have potentially been “in the hundreds.”
It was learned late Friday that a separate event involving students from other schools also happened on April 10, but it was determined that no unsafe practices occurred, and students who attended that event were cleared to return to in-person learning.
Monday, two high schools in the LCPS district – Las Cruces and Centennial – submitted plans for COVID-safe proms to happen on school campuses. Other high schools are also able to submit proposals for sanctioned events.
The New Mexico Department of Health and the Public Education Department joined LCPS Friday to encourage parents and students to continue COVID-safe practices outside of school in order to protect other end-of-semester celebrations, like graduation ceremonies.
The advice comes after high school principals learned of a gathering scheduled Tuesday, April 20 that included seniors districtwide. Principals are communicating with parents in advance of the event, encouraging them to send their students to school to avoid a potential quarantine or shift to remote learning at other schools.
As of April 5, COVID-19 vaccines are open to New Mexicans 16 years of age and older. District officials encourage students to be vaccinated, and advise that any student who has completed the vaccination cycle will be exempt from potential quarantine.
“The best way to prevent spreading COVID-19 to your family, friends or anyone is to just get vaccinated,” said New Mexico Department of Health spokesman David Morgan. “Students and parents have the power to make this easier – not harder. Just get vaccinated, mask, social distance and keep your hands clean, and you will not only slow the spread of COVID-19, you’ll be helping get your lives – and everyone else’s - back to normal.”
Every New Mexico resident can register for a COVID-19 vaccine online at VaccineNM.org. In addition, anyone can get tested locally for COVID-19. You can feel fine and still pass the virus to others, so the Department of Health encourages residents to get tested using any number of options available to them:
All COVID-19 testing and vaccination is available at no cost.