COVID Counterpunch

Albuquerque Schools To Require Outdoor Masking Under ‘Enhanced’ COVID Plan

On the same day that COVID cases in New Mexico reached an average of 1,828 per day, the highest since December 2020, Albuquerque Public Schools released an “Enhanced COVID Safe Practices” plan that will require students to wear masks outside.

Current policy requires mandatory masking indoors, social distancing, weekly testing for unvaccinated staff, and isolation of “COVID positive and potentially positive individuals from others,” among others. 

The list of new measures includes eating and learning outdoors when weather permits, suspension of extra-curricular activities, and prohibiting all or non-essential visitors. School administrators will meet with APS officials to decide which elements to implement. The measures will be “recommended” when a school’s infection rate reaches 3% of the student and staff population and “required” when the infection rate reaches 5%.

“Albuquerque Public Schools knows the continuing rise of COVID-19 cases nationwide is cause for concern, and we want to assure you the district is doing everything possible to keep our students and staff safe, limit the spread of the disease, minimize disruptions, and most importantly, continue in-person teaching and learning.”

 — APS Plan for Enhanced COVID Safe Practices announcement, January 3, 2022

As of January 3, 2022, 76% of adults in New Mexico, 57.3% of 12 to 17 year olds, and 17.3% of 5 to 11 year olds were fully vaccinated. 35.7% of adults had received a booster.

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