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Albuquerque Public Schools announces new COVID enhanced safety plan

Albuquerque Public Schools

Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) announced their new plan for “Enhanced COVID Safe Practices” Monday, as students and staff return to classrooms after the holiday break.

They return as the state’s daily COVID numbers continue to grow, reaching 7,437 new cases on Monday.

And with the omicron variant threatening to shut down school again, APS’s plan looks to take proactive steps to avoid mass outbreaks in schools.

“We want to assure you the district is doing everything possible to keep our students and staff safe” APS said in the press release announcing the enhanced practices. 

The release went on to say the APS COVID-19 response team is continuing to consult with health experts on safety protocols within the school setting.

In this new safe plan, the district is opting for a layered approach to dealing with a possible COVID-19 outbreaking. Utilizing increased mitigation strategies and if needed, classroom/school closures. 

The plan is laid out into five detailed steps, each one enacted once the school reaches either a certain infection threshold, or days after initial infections. 

The first stage of the plan goes into effect once a school reaches 3% of their population becoming infectious. Once this threshold is reached, the enhanced COVID-19 safe practices will be recommended. 

Direct personnel will conduct a site visit, and meet with the school’s administration to ensure there has been compliance with the current COVID safety protocols. The visit will then conclude with personnel providing recommendations and helping identify required enhanced mitigation measures.

Should a school reach 5% of their population becoming infected with COVID-19, they will be required to follow the enhanced COVID safe practices. Which include mask wearing outdoors, one-way cafeteria seating, no large group gatherings, and several other precautions outlined in the plan guidelines.

The district will then review the rate of infections at the school in question 7-14 days out from initial infection, and see if more mitigation strategies will need to be implemented. 

After 14-21 days, if the school’s infected population is below 3%, the enhanced mitigation strategies will be lifted. 

APS also stated that additional threshold levels will be considered to determine classroom/school closures if the need arises.