District to Report Positive Student Cases
Totals reported on COVID dashboard
Positive cases of COVID-19 among students in Las Cruces Public Schools have been reported to the district following the first week of in-person learning. Starting Monday, the data will be available to the public on the district’s website.
Since students and staff returned to the classroom, seven in-person students and one staff member tested positive for the virus. Following health protocols set forth by the New Mexico Department of Health and the Public Education Department, those classes affected by the positive cases have switched to remote learning while students quarantine. In all, approximately 300 students district-wide are isolating this week. The schools affected include Alameda Elementary, Cesar Chavez Elementary, Columbia Elementary, Sonoma Elementary, Sunrise Elementary, Valley View Elementary, Mayfield High School and Oñate High School.
According to district health officials, three of the positive cases were close contacts outside of school. One was related to a bus driver whose case was confirmed through surveillance testing.
“Reporting positive cases among students is not something we hoped to do so early in our return back to the classroom,” said LCPS interim superintendent Ralph Ramos. “But we expected it, and we have a plan in place to communicate important information to those families affected.”
The district began reporting positive cases among staff last October. The total number of student cases will now be included with that data and can be found on the LCPS COVID-19 News and Resources page, http://www.lcps.net/returnplan/covidnews.html
Prior to re-entry, the district created a communication plan for families outlining how positive cases would be handled once students were back in the buildings. According to the plan, students’ identity would be strictly protected, but families would be contacted in the event their child was in contact with a student or staff member who tested positive. According to Ramos, classrooms would be isolated to prevent the entire school from being closed.
“Protecting our cohorts is essential,” added Ramos. “That is one of the strategies to ensure our students are in a safe, healthy learning environment. In the event of a positive case, which we anticipated, it would not have as large of an impact.”
Ramos said deep sanitation of all buildings in the district happens every Wednesday and Friday, and individual classrooms are immediately sanitized when the district learns of a positive case.
Since April 6, more than 16,000 LCPS students have returned to in-person learning. Approximately 7,300 students opted to stay remote for the remainder of the school year. Should students decide to switch back to remote, Ramos says the district will accommodate those families.
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