New Mexico Tech closes campus Monday after students defy health order

Coronavirus New Mexico

SOCORRO, N.M. (KRQE) – The president of New Mexico Tech has closed the campus on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, after reports of at least one off-campus party. In a statement on the school’s website, President Stephen Wells states that between 50 to 100 New Mexico Tech students reportedly gathered at the party.

The governor’s current health order limits gatherings to no more than five people. As a result of this activity, the school has announced it will move all classes online for the next two weeks as a precaution. The New Mexico Tech campus will reopen on the morning of Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020.

New Mexico Tech will attempt to hold all scheduled classes online and all on-campus activities are canceled for Monday. Classes typically held online that are scheduled on Mondays will be held as normally scheduled.

As a precautionary measure, the school is physically closed for the day in order to limit any potential exposure to COVID-19. The statement on the school’s website states that the campus closure will provide administration the time to understand the “depth of issues resulting from this activity”.

No students are allowed to come to campus on Monday, Oct. 19, and students or roommates of students who attended the weekend events are urged to immediately go into self-isolation until further notice. The school states that for the health and safety of students, those who attended the events must report to Dean of Students Dr. Peter Phaiah at 575-835-5953 or at deanofstudents@nmt.edu.

New Mexico Tech reports that students who live on campus are allowed to remain in their residences and those students will be able to receive grab-and-go food services from Fidel cafeteria. However, students who attended the reported events are quarantined and must not leave their residences and should contact the Residential Life Office (575-835-5900, residential_life@nmt.edu) in order to receive meals.

Tech officials said as long as students who attended the event self-report to the university before Wednesday, October 21 by 5 p.m., there will be no punishment. They said they would rather have these students come forward without any fear of disciplinary actions, so the university can begin the contact tracing process and the necessary COVID-19 safety procedures.

Staff at the school are urged not to enter campus and are encouraged to work from home if possible. Staff will be contacted regarding further procedures.

A screenshot from New Mexico Tech’s website taken on Oct. 19, 2020, states students gathered at multiple local off-campus parties over the past weekend. (nmt.edu)

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