Public Education Department Releases COVID-19 School Re-entry Protocols
Monday, July 26th, the state Public Education Department released its back-to-school reentry guide, or “toolkit,” for the 2021/2022 school year.
The new protocols require masks for everyone in an elementary school while in a school building, on school transportation or at an indoor school-sponsored event.
At secondary schools, however, students, staff, volunteers and visitors who are fully vaccinated and provide documentation don’t have to wear masks. Anyone who is unvaccinated (or lacking documentation of vaccination) will have to wear masks in all those places (here’s a PED FAQ on masks).
The plan also requires social distancing for unvaccinated students and staff in schools, with adults required to maintain 6 feet of social distance from others and unvaccinated students required to maintain 3 feet of social distance “to the extent possible, except when eating, exercising, taking mask breaks, playing wind instruments and singing or shouting, in which case 6 feet of social distance is required.”
As for determining the vaccination status of students, individual schools are required to come up with plans for doing so, as well as new disciplinary measures for mask-wearing violations. In the case of Santa Fe Public Schools, classes start Aug. 6. According to the district’s website, it is in the process of reviewing the state guidance and will publish a guide for the district in the coming days and hold community and staff meetings prior to students’ return.