Wednesday, March 11, 2020
Dear APS Community,
The New Mexico Department of Health today confirmed that two New Mexico residents have tested positive for coronavirus, and one is presumptively positive. In response to the news, Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham held a lengthy news conference and declared a public health emergency for our state. The governor also reviewed a long list of precautionary measures now in place and said the state is prepared to take “any number of actions” to limit the spread of the virus.
Albuquerque Public Schools continues to monitor the coronavirus situation, and we continue to take precautionary measures to keep our schools safe. As announced yesterday, APS has suspended out of state travel for staff and students. At this point, no other travel has been restricted, but that may change if the situation warrants.
While no one knows what will happen next, it is expected we will see more cases of the coronavirus in New Mexico, and while we want our parents, students, and staff to be aware, we don’t want to create panic. For that reason, I am writing you to share what Albuquerque Public Schools is doing in response to this pandemic. APS has an Emergency Operations Team actively communicating with the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) and following the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidance along with various other public agencies to stay updated on the status and spread of the coronavirus.
Over the next two days, we have scheduled additional deep cleaning exercises for all schools. We routinely monitor schools for health issues of any kind and are in close communication with staff at all schools who will alert us if there’s a particular concern at their school, or to respond to a simple request for more soap and towels.
In the event of an outbreak, the district will follow the steps we have in place to track illnesses, notify health department officials, disinfect schools, and keep staff, students, and parents updated. Again, the district is working closely with the New Mexico Department of Health and will follow all guidance from health experts should the situation intensify.
In the meantime, we ask that you continue to be vigilant about your health and follow the Centers for Disease Control’s recommendation to stay home if you are sick. If students and staff have flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath, they should stay home and return after having contacted the NMDOH at their hotline 1-855-600-3453 for further guidance.
If students are ill, the absence will be excused.
There are more questions than answers at this point. The district, for weeks now, has been pro-actively addressing various scenarios in an attempt to get ahead of this rapidly changing public health threat effectively.
Questions about school closures, group gatherings, spring break travel, and many more are all being discussed at the district level. We will share all decisions, updates, and school-specific advisories with you as the information becomes available. Until then, there are reliable state and national sources to turn to for more information. Call the NMDOH toll-free, 24/7 hotline if you have concerns that you have been exposed to the coronavirus. That number is 1-855-600-3453. And, you can always visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for updates.
Thank you for your cooperation, patience, and commitment to doing everything possible to protect our community at this vulnerable time.