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State outlines new mask requirements for students, staff

District to announce additional updates Thursday


The New Mexico Public Education Department released the latest COVID-19 toolkit for public and charter schools on Monday, enabling leaders with Las Cruces Public Schools to finalize plans for what the upcoming school year will look like for students and staff. The most notable update provided relaxed mask mandates for those who are vaccinated, new definitions of close contacts and required surveillance testing for unvaccinated employees.  

“We will be ready,” said LCPS Superintendent Ralph Ramos after reviewing the 26-page document. “The safety of our students and staff will always remain our priority, and having a clear set of expectations allows us to communicate with our families what the school year will look like starting Aug. 9.”  

All elementary students and staff will be required to wear a mask indoors, according to state guidance. Secondary students and staff who have been fully vaccinated will not be required to wear a mask. Additionally, the district will have to comply with a mandatory 25 percent surveillance testing of unvaccinated staff. Surveillance testing of students will remain voluntary.  

Logistics – such as how proof of vaccination will be collected – will be discussed among district leaders Tuesday. Meetings with staff will be held on Wednesday, and LCPS will host a press conference for the media on Thursday at 1 p.m. at The Karen M. Trujillo Administrative Complex, 505 S. Main Street in Las Cruces. The press conference will be streamed on the district’s Livestream channel for those who cannot attend.    

The first day of school for LCPS students in grades one through 12 is Monday, Aug. 9, with kindergarten transition days beginning Aug. 10. A copy of the 2021-2022 calendar can be found here.