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RISD’s reopening criteria, safety requirements outlined by PED

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Kimberly Perez instructs her first-grade students in counting by twos Thursday in her classroom at Pecos Elementary School, 600 E. Hobbs Street. (Juno Ogle Photo)

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The Roswell Independent School District has already met two of the criteria for reopening outlined by the state Thursday.

In a press conference with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Education Secretary Ryan Stewart reviewed the requirements that will be used to determine which schools, starting with elementary grades, will be able to reopen to the hybrid model of learning after Labor Day.

First, the state must meet its gating criteria to show success in suppressing the coronavirus. Those measurements include the rate of spread, the seven-day rolling average of COVID-19 cases, the number of tests and the seven-day average of test positivity.

Secondly, the county of the district must also meet gating criteria for the rate of new daily COVID-19 cases and test positivity.

Third, the district’s re-entry plan must be approved by the Public Education Department.

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Fourth, the district must have safety and support plans in place for personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies, cleaning procedures and rapid response procedures if a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19.

RISD Superintendent Mike Gottlieb said the district’s re-entry plan has already been approved and the district has also developed its own “toolkit” for safety and support plans.

“We have our own regional maps, we have nurses that have been trained on how to do contact tracing,” Gottlieb said.

“We have all those things in place so our parts are done,” he said.

Thirty-eight of the state’s 89 districts have had plans approved by the PED, Stewart said.

Chaves County is currently in the “red zone” by the state’s gating criteria, meaning it has more than eight cases per 100,000 people on average and a test positivity rate greater than 5%. Lea, Eddy, Roosevelt, Quay and Hidalgo counties are also in the red.

Stewart said the state’s goal is to keep the likelihood low of students or staff being exposed to the coronavirus once schools open so they won’t have to be closed almost immediately, as has happened in other states.

“If they had had our gating criteria and used it, they never would have reopened schools the way they did. We are in a much safer place than any of those folks,” Human Services Secretary David Scrase said.

To keep up with local coverage of the coronavirus, go to rdrnews.com/category/news/covid-19-situation/.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.

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