NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – COVID cases in New Mexico schools are dropping dramatically. Friday’s list from the Public Education Department shows only 14 schools in the state above the five percent infection rate for students and staff, which is out of 847.

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As of last week, a total of 2 districts notified the Public Education Department that they had voluntarily closed the full district in response to COVID-19 at some point during the week, 4 districts indicated a closure of an elementary school, 3 districts indicated a closure of a high school or middle school and 7 charter schools closed.

That is a far cry from the 68 schools on the list at the end of January when Omicron was surging. The schools above the five percent must have enhanced COVID measures including limited groups, masking outdoors and no outside visitors, and must do so for a minimum of two weeks or until cases drop below that 5 percent.

Despite the improving numbers, there is no indication the governor will roll back the school mask mandate like other states have. California’s governor says he will end that state’s indoor mask mandate among vaccinated people and New Jersey’s governor will end the mandate in schools next month, along with Delaware and Connecticut.

That will leave just 11 states still requiring masks in the classroom after this month. New Mexico’s mask mandate was officially extended on Friday. The Department of Health said while case counts are trending downward, the infectious nature of the Omicron variant requires “continued vigilance.”