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New Santa Fe Public Schools COVID-19 Dashboard sheds light on case numbers this year | Education

Since the start of the school year, the Santa Fe Public Schools have counted 342 contagious cases of the coronavirus on their campus, according to an online dashboard the district launched on Monday.

The new COVID dashboard is updated daily with newly confirmed cases after all “close contacts” of an infected student or employee have been identified. The dates are available in English and Spanish and cases can be broken down by period and school using the toggles at the top of the page.

The dashboard will only contain cases of students and employees who were contagious on a school campus, the districts said.

The data, which includes cases as of Aug. 6, shows that the majority of cases were college students: that month, college students accounted for 95 percent of positive tests, and nearly 84 percent of the cases were total student infections.

According to the dashboard, only 24 cases were likely related to a previous case on campus, while the origin of 39 cases remains uncertain.

The rest, according to contact tracing efforts, is related to the spread of the coronavirus outside of schools.

In a press release released late last week, the district said the new dashboard “will provide more transparency and better reporting to the public.”

But some parents wonder whether the effort is enough.

“It’s good that they’re doing the tracker, but it’s not enough,” Rachel Kleinfeld, a parent of children at Acequia Madre Elementary School – where a teacher and several first grade students recently tested positive for coronavirus, told the entire class quarantined and causing multiple breakthrough cases among family members.

Kleinfeld and other parents want the district to disclose which teachers are not vaccinated, which he has declined, citing a medical data protection declaration.

While the district confirmed last week that it had identified 10 cases at Acequia Madre, it had previously reported only six of them as four of the students were off campus while contagious.

The COVID dashboard shows that Capital High School has the highest number of cases this year with 32 student cases and five personal cases so far. Santa Fe High School and Wood Gormley Elementary School are just behind with 31 and 24 cases recorded since the start of the school year, respectively.

Two of those cases at Wood Gormley were employees, meaning about 7 percent of the student body at the small Eastside school tested positive.

October saw the highest monthly number of cases ever among the district’s students and staff, with 114 cases identified as contagious on campus.

But November seems to be taking the lead at 80 so far, compared to 60 at that time last month.

The rise in cases in recent weeks is due to the state introducing Pfizer vaccinations for children ages 5-11.

According to the New Mexico Department of Health, more than 11,700 – or 6.2 percent – of the state’s children in that age group had received their first dose by Monday.

Students and staff who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus and who have had close contact with someone who tested positive do not need to be quarantined if they remain asymptomatic. Starting in December, the district will be participating in a new program called “Test to Stay,” whereby unvaccinated individuals who are considered “close contacts” are given three rounds of rapid coronavirus tests after exposure and only need to be quarantined if they test positive or develop symptoms.

Parents and legal guardians of unvaccinated children must agree to participate. Those who do not attend will have to be quarantined for 10 days of school if exposed to the virus.

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