NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – On Thursday, the governor announced a small round of reopenings, but questions remain about when kids will go back to school. The governor’s goal is to switch to a hybrid-learning model after Labor Day, announcing the guidelines for school districts to be able to do that, though this option is currently not available for much of southeast New Mexico.
“For any place where we do start allowing people back in the building that we’re doing it with the public health conditions are low enough,” said Secretary Ryan Stewart of the Public Education Department. Easy to see the problem area here, the counties in red have a test positivity rate of higher than 5%, yellow is lower than 5% but still too high. All counties in those colors are excluded from sending students back to campus at all for the time being.
Though, for the rest of the state in green, districts must et a reentry plan approved by PED, and have a stockpile of PPE, cleaning supplies, and have rapid response procedures in place.
On Wednesday, the governor announced churches can operate at 40% capacity and restaurants can serve indoors again at 25% capacity and outdoor at 75% starting Saturday. Thursday, she added museums with static displays to that list, which can also operate at 25% capacity. The limit on mass gatherings has been upped from five to 10.
All these changes being announced as we continue to see dropping case numbers in most of the state, with an average of 118, which is lower than the 168 average goal set by the state for more reopenings. “Let’s keep that curve down New Mexico, let’s be safe and let’s make New Mexico the safest place in the country for kids to go back to school,” Dr. Scrase said Thursday.
Dr. Scrase also broke down a vaccine timeline Thursday. Five vaccines around the world are in stage three trials, the final step before widespread distribution. Dr. Scrase anticipates most vaccines will be administered between January and July of 2021, with older adults and healthcare workers getting priority.
Teachers may also be prioritized but that has not been decided. Dr. Scrase says even though people can gather in groups of 10 now, he’s urging families to stay within their households this Labor Day.