ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque Public Schools announced it will be enacting enhanced COVID-safe practices district-wide for the next two weeks as omicron races through schools. Some of the new rules will affect spectator sports.

Athletics will play on as scheduled, but fans will be prohibited from attending during the two-week period. The measures come as APS looks to calm a massive COVID-19 surge which is up to 2,000 confirmed cases since returning from winter break. “We really, really, really want to keep kids playing, we want to keep kids in class, in school learning, and we want to have for like state championships, we want to have people there. By being proactive right now we are hoping this 14-day period will help bring the cases low enough that we can open for everybody,” said APS Chief of Operations Dr. Gabriella Blakey.

The new enhanced COVID practices include prohibiting spectators at school events which include athletics from January 19 through February 2.

A full list of APS precautions to reduce virus transmission include the following:

  • Outdoor learning when possible
  • Wearing properly fitted masks outdoors and indoors
  • Students facing one way in classrooms and in the cafeteria as much as possible
  • Eating otudoors when possible
  • Keeping students in cohorts
  • Allowing only essential visitors
  • Prohibiting spectators at school events, including athletics from Jan. 19-Feb. 2
  • Prohibiting large group gatherings, including assemblies
  • Staggering transition times and recesses
  • Closing drinking fountains (students can still fill water bottles)
  • Restricting locker use
  • Students report directly into classes/cohorts upong arrival at school
  • Recess times/spaces staggered to separate classes/cohorts of students for elementary schools

APS hopes they won’t have to extend those policies past the two weeks. Just last week, APS said a significant number of its schools were approaching the 5% infection rate.

While fans won’t be able to attend athletic events, the media will. KRQE Sports will cover high school highlights. Another change going into effect, any student-athlete who tests positive for COVID has to get clearance from their doctor before returning to play. The NMAA updated its guidelines last week.