CARLSBAD, N.M. (KRQE) – Most school districts in southeastern New Mexico have not yet met the gating criteria to allow students to learn in person. Now, one superintendent has a plea for residents to change that, by getting a lot more people tested.
“Our ultimate goal is to get kids back into face to face learning,” said Gerry Washburn, the superintendent for Carlsbad schools.
Washburn sent a letter to all parents expressing the reasons why in-person learning is not open to kids in Carlsbad. Right now, Eddy County has a positivity rate of more than 8%. The superintendent believes more people in the county need to get tested.
“If it helps us get our children back in school, I think we would like to know more about the information, we don’t want testing to backfire,” said parent Eric Tercero.
Most parents said they do not want to go through the hassle of getting tested, some even refusing to talk about the issue. The superintendent says more tests will result in a lower positivity rate.
“If you look at Curry County there, they’ve tested 16,000 and something people. We’ve tested 13,000 something people; if we had the same numbers as Curry County, our test positivity rate would be 4.5 percent and would be below the metrics that have been established,” said Washburn.
Washburn said Curry County is currently in the green and can have kids back in school. In the letter, he explained that starting next week 5 percent of the school staff will need to be tested. He understands the feelings some employees and parents have about testing. Washburn feels getting more people tested is the only way to get kids back in the classroom by the second week of October.
“If we can just get our test per week up 200 or 300 I think that will put us to where we can get those, that part of the numbers where they need to be,” said Washburn. He also asked all business owners in Eddy County to get 5 percent of their employees tested. The CVS store in Carlsbad has announced a daily drive-thru testing side daily starting Sunday at 9 a.m.