LAS CRUCES – Las Cruces public schools saw a slight decrease in positive COVID-19 cases last week compared to the last month on record.
There were 48 positive tests in the week of September 29th through October 5th. For the past three weeks, the weekly case numbers were in the 1960s.
LCPS’s new COVID-19 system tracks cases by school and records the percentage of positive cases relative to the number of students and staff in the buildings.
In the past two weeks, the schools with the highest percentage of new COVID-19 cases were Mesa Middle (1.27 percent), Mesilla Park Elementary (1.22 percent), Monte Vista Elementary (1.21 percent), Mesilla Valley Leadership Academy (1 percent) and Loma Heights Elementary (0.93 percent).
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The system reported that there have been 471 positive cases since school started on Aug. 9.
Cumulative district data
Overall, around 2.1 percent of the students and staff at the LCPS tested positive for COVID-19 this school year.
Of the 471 positive cases in the district, 374 are students and 97 are employees or contractors, according to the new dashboard.
Mayfield High still has the highest number of COVID-19 cases at 31, but the Las Cruces district administration designation is also listed at 26 cases. Five other schools have 20 or more cases: Camino Real Middle has 23; Organ Mountain High and Mesa Middle both have 22; and Centennial High and Monte Vista both have 20.
Mayfield High had the biggest surge over the past week, with eight additional positive cases. Mesa Middle had another week of highly positive cases with five new reports doubling the schools’ three-month case count in just two weeks.
The new COVID-19 dashboard from LCPS can be found at lcps.net/returnplan/covidnews.html.
COVID-19 Rapid Response by District
There are currently no quick responses at Hatch Valley Public Schools or the Gadsden Independent School District, according to the New Mexico Environmental Department’s Rapid Response Tracker.
In total, LCPS has 29.
A quick response means one or more people tested positive for COVID-19 and were contagious on campus. All cases reported to a school on a single day, as well as all cases with test dates until the next day, are summarized in a single quick reaction.
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The New Mexico Public Education Department announced on Aug. 19 that it will not require schools to close if it receives four quick responses in 14 days, which was the previous policy.
Mayfield High currently has four rapid reactions but will not be closed according to the updated guidelines.
Instead, the State Department will work with schools to introduce improved COVID-safe practices that will sustain personal learning as much as possible. It is at a district’s discretion whether or not to convert a school to distance learning unless the Department of Health intervenes.
Twelve schools across the state have four quick responses. Check out the NMED website for quick responses at env.nm.gov/rapid-response-data/.
Miranda Cyr, a member of the Report for America Corps, can be reached at [email protected] or @mirandabcyr on Twitter. Show your support for the Report for America program at https://bit.ly/LCSNRFA.