District Updates COVID Guidance Following State’s Revised Toolkit

Shortened quarantine times and new definitions for “fully vaccinated” individuals are some of the changes in COVID-19 protocols at Las Cruces Public Schools that will go into effect next week. The revisions were made following the New Mexico Public Education Department’s updated toolkit that was released Wednesday. 

Effective Tuesday, Jan. 18, students and staff who test positive for COVID will be required to quarantine for five days instead of 10. This update was to align with the CDC’s current recommendation. Students who were previously isolating or under quarantine and have met the new five-day timeframe may return on Tuesday, provided their symptoms have improved and have not had a fever in the last 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medications). 

The Tuesday update was determined because LCPS will observe the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on Monday. 

Additional updates were also made to the definition of up-to-date vaccination status. You are now considered up to date (previously “fully vaccinated”) if you have received a booster before Jan. 17. You are eligible to receive a booster if you are five months past your second dose of either Pfizer or Moderna, or two months after your initial dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine. School staff will have four weeks to become up to date if they are eligible. New Mexico requires public school staff to either be up to date on COVID vaccination or participate in surveillance testing. Close contacts of those who test positive, but are up to date, are not required to quarantine.

The Test to Stay program will stay in place under the new guidance. Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated students may test to stay in-person and participate in activities if they continue to test negative for COVID in a series of three tests following the day of exposure. 

LCPS has tracked cases across the district over the past year. Case counts can be found on the LCPS dashboard by clicking on ‘COVID-19’ in the upper right-hand corner of the district website, www.lcps.net. A link to the NMPED’s updated toolkit can also be found on that page.