KRQE Newsfeed: Back to school, Test shortage, Breezy spots, Another elephant death, Free rides

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[1] Schools prepare to return from holiday break as COVID cases rise Students are heading back to the classroom Tuesday after winter break and traveling despite a surge in COVID cases. Depending on how many people test positive, virtual learning, along with school or classroom closures are back on the table. When testing positive within the last 14 days, enhanced safety requirements will be strongly encouraged but not required. If that number reaches 5% or more it will be enforced.

[2] With the holiday season over, COVID-19 tests are becoming hard to find New Mexicans are running into trouble getting tested for COVID-19. Employees at pharmacies and big box stores tell KRQE News 13 it’s been difficult to keep home kits in stock. There are also fewer testing sites than at the height of the pandemic. Some people think the state should bring them back. The state has bought 50,000 rapid test kits with COVID relief funds and is expecting an additional 60,000.

[3] Strong winds whip eastern New Mexico yielding warm temperatures This morning is cold with partly cloudy skies and light winds. Clouds will be in and out of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado today, but the southern half of the state will stay abundantly sunny. A system is crossing the Rockies in the northern U.S., which will bring stronger winds into New Mexico.

[4] Second ABQ BioPark elephant dies from virus Another elephant has died from a virus. A week ago, eight-year-old Jazmine was diagnosed with Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus, which all young elephants have in their systems. It’s not known what causes the virus to break through, but experts say it does happen often. Jazmine’s younger brother, three-year-old Thorn also died from the virus on Christmas Day. Staff says the rest of the herd should be safe but will be monitored closely and tested weekly.

[5] Free fares on all Albuquerque city buses during year-long pilot program Albuquerque’s buses will no longer charge to ride, at least through the end of the year. The City’s Zero Fare pilot program started on January 1 and means everyone rides for free on ABQ RIDE, ART, and Sun Vans. Over the course of the year, ABQ Ride will collect data on ridership, security incidents, and passenger experiences to decide whether free fares will continue beyond 2022.

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