ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque Public Schools says it’s working to keep schools open during the latest COVID surge. The week, New Mexico saw the same number of COVID-19 cases as it did a year ago when much of the state shut down. APS explained why they’re able to keep kids in school during this case surge.
The latest data show the week before Thanksgiving, APS had 330 cases among students and staff across 93 of its 143 campuses. It’s seeing more cases among student than staff and fewer cases in high schools which the district say could be because more students have been vaccinated.
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A handful of schools have a 3% positivity rate which leads to a district leadership visit. No schools have reached a 5% positivity rate which could lead to added safety protocols like limiting school visitors, banning spectators at games and having more activities held outdoors.
APS Chief Operating Officer Dr. Gabriella Blakey says if they can keep staff healthy, they don’t anticipate having to return to remote learning again. “Our biggest concern is usually the staff and keeping the staff healthy because without the staff there, it’s not the spread we’re worried about. It’s if we cant keep people healthy, we won’t have the staff to provide the education to students,” Dr. Blakey said.
The district saying it’s seeing a big increase in vaccinations and with parents vaccinating their 5 to 11-year-olds. APS has been holding vaccine clinics for staff and students, averaging about 700 shots a week with a total of about 75,000 shots in arms over the past year. The district is now focusing on getting its staff their booster shots to all be considered fully vaccinated under the revised health order.
This wee, APS also launched its Test to Stay program where unvaccinated students and staff who come into close contact with a positive COVID-19 case, can get tested on-site and stay in the classroom instead of having to quarantine.