NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The New Mexico Public Education Department announced that New Mexico public school students will be offered free school-based COVID-19 testing. Student testing will be voluntary and districts and charter schools will implement student testing programs as soon as possible but no later than the week of April 26.
“This is a voluntary student surveillance testing program — it’s a service we’re putting out to the
community. This will help build public confidence that schools are safe,” Public Education
Secretary Ryan Stewart said in a news release. “By testing student volunteers, we can get better information about what’s happening in schools with the virus and get communication out into the
community about how our precautionary measures are working.”
NMPED says the goal is for schools to test 1% of students in the general pool weekly and 10% of individuals participating in sports and activities. NMPED says students who show proof of being fully vaccinated and students who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days will not be asked to participate.
“We still have significant transmission in many of our communities, and we are not past the risk
of another surge in disease that results in significant risk to life and health. Testing is one of the
tools we have to minimize the risk of this happening,” said Dr. Daniel Sosin in the same news release, an epidemiologist at the New Mexico Department of Health.
According to the same news release, schools are required to conduct surveillance testing of unvaccinated staff members at rates determined by each county’s color on the NMDOH map. NMPED says turquoise counties must test 5% of eligible staff per week; green and yellow counties must test 12.5%, and red counties must test 25%.
NMPED says the testing options include at-home tests like BinaxNOW antigen tests and the statewide VAULT mail-in testing program, also offered will be on-site COVID tests administered through Curative.