New Mexico officials ordered all public and charter schools in the state to close temporarily beginning Monday (March 16) as a sixth case of the coronavirus COVID-19 was confirmed.
Secretary Stewart was at Taos Middle School on Wednesday morning (March 11) enjoying breakfast prepared by the culinary arts club and touring the school with other community leaders a couple of hours before the first confirmed coronavirus cases in the state were confirmed and Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham declared a state of emergency.
On Thursday, Stewart announced the closures and said, “This is a proactive measure to limit the potential community spread of COVID-19. We have seen other states take this measure after they have experienced community spread of this virus. New Mexico is going to be proactive and do everything we can to prevent the potential spread of the virus. I have been in communication with all of our superintendents about this proactive step, and we are all going to work together to address this public health challenge.”
Taos and Questa school districts are on spring break next week, so the closure does not affect their classes immediately. Students were scheduled to resume classes March 23 in Taos and Questa.
Some districts have been taking precautions while students were in classes the last two weeks and even before New Mexico had any confirmed cases.
“All schools for the last two weeks have had all desks and doorknobs, etc. continuously sanitized and this will continue until we are on spring break after tomorrow (Friday, March 13),” said Taos Superintendent Lillian Torrez via email.
“We plan to monitor this situation in conjunction with the Department of Transportation and Public Education Department,” she said. She said plans are underway in the district for food services to feed students starting on Monday, )March 23).
"The Peñasco Independent School District is greatly relieved that New Mexico is taking these measures to protect our students and staff," said Penasco Superintendent Lisa Hamilton. "Our school-based health clinic will remain open. We will be providing breakfast and lunches during this time as well. The logistics of these services will be determined tomorrow [March 13]."
Taos had no confirmed case of COVID-19 as of 5 p.m. Thursday (March 12), according to Holy Cross Medical Center.
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