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RISD graduations will follow health order restrictions

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If Chaves County is at the Yellow Level in the state’s COVID-19 risk assessment system after the update in the first week of June, any indoor graduations in the Roswell Independent School District would not be able to include family and friends, Superintendent Mike Gottlieb said Friday.

Gottlieb will give an update on graduation plans in his regular report near the end of Tuesday’s meeting of the RISD school board.

The meeting will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Administrative and Educational Services Complex, 300 N. Kentucky.

Due to state health orders, only board members and a small number of staff will be in attendance at the meeting. The public is encouraged to view the livestream on YouTube.

Each school has plans for both indoor and outdoor events, but how many people will be allowed to attend depends on what level the county is at.

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Under the restrictions for the high-risk Yellow Level — where the county is now — large entertainment venues can have 25% of maximum capacity for outdoor venues. Indoor events are not allowed.

However, Gottlieb said the New Mexico Public Education Department has an exception to that restriction to allow for counties at a higher risk level to have an indoor graduation with limited attendance.

“We will have everything set up for inside. The problem with us going inside is we can have the board, our graduates and the few administrators in there and that’s it,” Gottlieb said.

If the county moves to a lower-risk level, however, even an indoor graduation with guests is possible.

If the county should move to the low-risk Turquoise Level, then large entertainment venues can have 33% capacity indoors and 75% outdoors. Once a county reaches Turquoise, it will stay there for four weeks before its next assessment.

In order for Chaves County to reach that level by graduation, it would either have to meet all three of the criteria the state uses in its assessment or meet two of the criteria for both the May 19 and June 2 updates.

The county currently meets only one of those metrics, the positivity rate, at 4.25%. The average number of daily cases per 100,000 people is at 11.7, above the target of 10, and the percentage of those fully vaccinated is 31.1%. For the May 19 update, the vaccination target will be 45% and for June 2 it will be 50%.

At the medium risk Green Level, large entertainment venues can have 25% capacity indoors or 50% of outdoor spaces, but still have a new assessment every two weeks.

“It breaks my heart,” Gottlieb said of the thought of this year’s graduates not having their family at graduation.

“I know last year was bad. We had a parade. It was OK, but here we have the opportunity and if we go inside, it’s no parents, no guests, no one,” he said.

Early College High School’s graduation will be 7 p.m. June 3 at the Wool Bowl or Goddard High School big gym. Roswell High School will be 7 p.m. June 4 at the Wool Bowl or the RHS gyms. Goddard High School will be 10 a.m. June 5 at the Wool Bowl or the GHS gyms. University High School will be 2 p.m. June 5 at Pueblo Auditorium or 7 p.m. at the Wool Bowl.

The board will have a large number of action items to address at Tuesday’s meeting including a change in policy to reorganize the board in January instead of March. The original policy originated when board elections occurred in February. A state law passed in 2018 moved local school board elections to November of odd-numbered years. That policy will have its first reading.

Other policy changes receiving first reading concern dental examinations of students; discipline, suspension, termination and discharge of professional and support staff; nondiscrimination and equal opportunity; school volunteers; student discipline; and student dress.

Policy changes up for second reading and possible votes are on social media usage and school volunteers.

The board is also scheduled to take action on an arts funding resolution, bus contractor evaluations and recommendations for copier services.

Also on the agenda are an update on May assessments, the introduction of a new construction manager for the district, and recognition of a local business and organizations for bottled water donations.

The board will also recognize district officials and employees who received Student Achievement Awards last month from the New Mexico School Board Association.

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

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