According to new guidelines from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s New Mexico Public Education Department (PED), the new K-12 school year will begin in hybrid form with in-person attendance limited to 50% of classroom capacity.
All students and staff will be required to wear face masks or shields. “Face coverings are required for all students and staff except while eating, drinking and exercising, with limited exceptions for students or staff who have medical reasons for not being able to wear a mask or face shield,” says the report.
The report does not say what penalties schools should carry out for those in violation of the mask rule, or specify whether the schools will provide masks or face shields to students, although it does specify that the schools will provide them, as well as “other appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE)” to staff. Bus drivers and bus attendants will be provided masks by the schools.
As well, the guidelines detail that “All staff must be screened on a daily basis, including a temperature check and review of potential symptoms. All sites must work with state and local health officials to have a plan for contact tracing. While not required, this is also recommended for students.” The schools will be required to report statistics to the state
Regarding food, the guidelines require schools to provide meals to students during in-person instruction and remote learning, which suggests schools will have to resume delivery systems to students learning off-site.
According to the guidance documents provided by PED, reopening schools at half capacity “will allow the state to collect and analyze data on the impact of a controlled start on the spread of the virus.”