SGS COVID-19 Updates

In order to more clearly report out our confirmed COVID-19 cases and quarantines, we have created this page as our status updates center. We understand that these unprecedented times can cause concern, and information can often calm concerns and ease fears. In light of that, this page provides you with details on how many cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in students and staff within Sidney Gutierrez, and the resulting quarantines, if any.

Our COVID Safety Practices and a COVID-19 Team are in place and work directly with the New Mexico Department of Health, New Mexico Environment Department, and the New Mexico Public Education Department should any cases of COVID-19 be confirmed.

After unanimous Governing Council vote on September 12, 2022, the SGS administration, at the direction of its Principal and school nurse, has authority to make reasonable changes to this document, provided that the changes comply at all times with all PED and DOH requirements, and all applicable laws.  Any changes made to this Toolkit will be reported to the SGS Governing Council at its regular monthly meeting.

This Toolkit supersedes the previously adopted SGS Enhanced Covid-safe Practices plan.  SGS will internally review this toolkit on a monthly basis, at a minimum, with the intent to make substantive changes no more frequently than once per semester UNLESS required by direction from the New Mexico Department of Health, Public Education Department, or the SGS Governing Council.

Toolkit (Updated: 07/20/2022)

Schools, school districts, and charter schools should put in place a core set of infectious disease prevention strategies as part of normal operations. The addition and layering of COVID-19- specific prevention strategies should be tied to the COVID-19 Community Levels and community or setting-specific context, such as availability of resources, health status of students, and age of population served. Enhanced prevention strategies also may be necessary in response to an outbreak in schools, school districts, and charter school settings.

SGS will maintain a webpage that provides information on our two-week confirmed positivity rate of students and staff members who were infectious while on campus.  This will be updated every Monday by 11:59 PM.

The Sidney Gutierrez School has consulted with representatives from the New Mexico Department of Health and the New Mexico Public Education Department regarding threshold considerations for the school to implement increased mitigation strategies as well as the need for classroom/school closures in the event of recurrence of COVID-19.

Originally developed by the New Mexico Public Education Department, Sidney Gutierrez has updated its plan identifying current and enhanced COVID safe practices for our school. In addition to the plan, provided below is information for determining the implementation of expanded mitigation strategies as well as the potential for classroom/school closures.

  • Upon a school reaching a threshold of 3% or more of its population (students & staff) while infectious in the past 14 days, enhanced COVID safe practices in accordance to the school’s plan shall be recommended. School administrator and Governing Council designee will complete a walkthrough to ensure compliance with current practices and provide recommendations for enhanced mitigation strategies.
  • Upon the school reaching a threshold of 5% or more of its population (students & staff) while infectious in the past 14 days, enhanced COVID safe practices in accordance to the school’s plan shall be required. School administrator and Governing Council designee will complete a walkthrough to ensure compliance with current practices and provide recommendations for enhanced mitigation strategies.
  • 7‐14 days after the school is required to implement enhanced COVID safe practices, the rate of current COVID‐19 cases in the school will be reviewed. A follow‐up site visit shall be conducted to determine if enhanced mitigation strategies have been implemented and to determine if there is a need for additional mitigation strategies.
  • 14‐21 days after the school is required to implement enhanced COVID safe practices, the rate of current COVID‐19 cases will be reviewed. Enhanced mitigation strategies will be lifted when the school’s administrator confirms current COVID‐19 cases are below 3% of the school’s population (students & staff) in the past 14‐21 days.
  • Additional threshold levels will be considered if needed to determine classroom/school closures (e.g. lack of staff to provide a safe adult to student ratio, indication of school spread or other related contributing factors) in the event of prolonged exposure to case counts.

Provided below is additional guidance that may be considered if deemed appropriate when monitoring COVID‐19 cases and implementing enhanced COVID safe practices and/or determining school/classroom closures:

  • Additional notification for enhanced mitigation strategies to schools with COVID‐19 cases exceeding a threshold of 5% in a 14‐day period
  • Examine, to the greatest extent possible, school spread of COVID‐19 cases
  • Monitor adult to student ratios when there is a high number of staff and students simultaneously out
  • Examine, to the greatest extent possible, the number of students out due to any illness

The statewide requirement for mask wearing in schools was lifted last school year and will not be changed for the new school year. Mask requirements remain a determination of a local school district or charter school. 

SGS may require that if you are returning to school after testing positive you MAY wear a well-fitting mask indoors for an additional 5 days upon your approved date for return to school.  Additionally, as stated previously in this Toolkit, household members of a confirmed positive case will be required to wear a well-fitting mask indoors at SGS for 10 days after the suspected infection.

Universal indoor mask-wearing will only be considered at or above an 8% positivity rate over a two-week period, with the intent of preventing a move to remote learning, and is not a foregone conclusion.

COVID-19 surveillance testing programs test unvaccinated asymptomatic individuals to discover undiagnosed cases and to better understand the rate of infection in the community. Staff and students who provide evidence of COVID-19 vaccination and those who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days are not included in surveillance testing.

Districts and charter schools must ensure that any faculty and staff who have not provided evidence of COVID-19 vaccination and work onsite participate in COVID-19 testing each week that student services are provided at school. That is, the requirement is increased to 100% weekly testing for these individuals.

Schools are required to provide student surveillance testing programs to all unvaccinated students on a voluntary basis. In alignment with CDC guidance, those who participate in athletics and other extra-curricular activities are strongly encouraged to participate in surveillance testing. Schools have a weekly goal of testing 25% of unvaccinated students.

Four (4) Rapid Responses
The requirement for schools to close upon having four Rapid Responses in 14 days has not changed. The Public Education Department is working with medical leaders and the Governor’s Office to see if it is appropriate to adjust the closure requirements for the 2021/2022 school year. several schools have  reached the four rapid response threshold this school year. A Rapid Response is one or more COVID-19 cases who were infectious while on campus and who share a school notification date, or have a test date up to one day after the school notification date.

Current COVID Numbers in Each Grade Level – Last update: 10/4/2022

Grade Level Number of Positives
Kindergarten 0
1st Grade 0
2nd Grade 0
3rd Grade 1
4th Grade 0
5th Grade 0
6th Grade 0
7th Grade 0
8th Grade 0
Staff 0
14 Day Rolling Count 1

Beginning at 3% of our students and staff members being confirmed positive with COVID-19 while on campus over a two-week period, SGS will send an email and text alert notifying the community, deep clean and sanitize the building, and will consider the following mitigation measures:

  • Cancellation of single-day athletic and/or after-school extracurricular activities
  • Temporary restrictions on indoor athletic and/or other extracurricular activities
  • Temporary restrictions on spectators for athletic and/or other events
  • Temporary removal of water fountain spout usage (bottle filling would remain available)

Beginning at 8% of our students and staff members being confirmed positive with Covid-19 while on campus over a two-week period, OR in the event we have an insurmountable teacher coverage concern, SGS will send an email and text alert notifying the community, deep clean and sanitize the building, and will consider the following mitigation measures:

  • Temporary suspension of athletic and/or other after-school extracurricular activities
  • Temporary restrictions on indoor athletic and/or other extracurricular activities
  • Temporary restrictions on spectators for athletic and/or other events
  • Temporary removal of water fountain spout usage (bottle filling would remain available)
  • Temporary indoor mask-wearing requirement (could be entire school or limited to specific grade levels or “close contact” groups)
  • Temporary remote learning of one or more grade levels or “close contact” groups (up to five calendar days)

When the percentage of our students and staff members being confirmed positive with Covid-19 while on campus over a two-week period is in excess of 8% AND also in excess of the Chaves County Community Level (per CDC guidance), SGS will send an email and text alert notifying the community, deep clean and sanitize the building, and will initiate the following mitigation measures:

  • Temporary suspension of athletic and/or other after-school extracurricular activities
  • Temporary restrictions on indoor athletic and/or other extracurricular activities
  • Temporary restrictions on spectators for athletic and/or other events
  • Temporary remote learning schoolwide (up to five calendar days)

SGS will provide diagnostic testing for students and staff with symptoms of COVID-19 or who were exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the school setting.  In order to be tested on campus, students must have a completed parent consent form on file.  Without the consent form, the student will be sent home with relative immediacy, with an at-home test.  Please remember that symptomatic students may be sent home by nursing staff regardless of the test result.

The statewide requirement for students and school staff to participate in the Test to Stay Program has been lifted. The decision for when and whether testing will be required is the determination of a local school district or charter school.

SGS will no longer require a “Test to Stay” program for students or staff members who are close contacts, whose vaccination status is unverified or who are not considered fully vaccinated.  Again, tests will be provided for those experiencing symptoms or who request to be tested 3-5 days after the confirmed contact.

The statewide requirement for school workers who are not up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations to test for COVID-19 in schools weekly has been lifted. The decision for when and whether testing will be required is the determination of a local school district or charter school. The CDC suggests that local decision be guided by the local COVID -19 Community Level.

SGS will no longer require surveillance testing, but will provide tests upon request by SGS staff members and students, especially for those experiencing relevant symptoms.

The statewide requirement to quarantine for school staff and students who are not up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations and who are exposed to COVID-19 has been lifted. The recommendation of the CDC is that close contacts of a positive case should wear a well-fitting mask and be tested. The decision for when and whether quarantine will be required is the determination of a local school district or charter school and should be based on the local COVID-19 Community Level.

SGS will notify students and families when the student was in an indoor space with a confirmed positive case for more than 15 minutes.  This notification will come regardless of vaccination status, and no further action is required unless the student becomes symptomatic.  However, the CDC does recommend testing after 5 days of the contact and wearing a well-fitting mask for up to 10 days after the contact.

*Special note for SGS household members of a confirmed positive case:  There is no particular testing requirement; however, SGS will require that you wear a well-fitting mask indoors for 10 days after the initial known exposure.  Additionally, while not required, it is highly recommended that you test every other day during this 10-day period.  The SGS nursing office will supply you with at least one test.

The act of keeping someone who is sick or who tested positive for COVID-19 away from others by staying home from school, work, and other activities while infectious. • Isolation should last at least 5 days after the onset of symptoms, and until fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications, and experiencing improvement of symptoms. • For people who never had symptoms, the isolation period is 5 days after the date their first positive test was collected. Vigilant mask wearing for 5 days after the isolation periods is also required (days 6–10).

COVID positive individuals are still required to isolate for 5 calendar days after onset of symptoms. An asymptomatic individual who tests positive for COVID-19 will be asked to isolate for 5 calendar days after the initial positive test.  An individual does not have to test negative to return. Individuals may return after 5 days if symptoms have improved and they have been fever free without using fever-reducing medication for 24 hours.

Please report ALL positive cases to the SGS Health Office as soon as possible, including household members that do not attend Sidney Gutierrez.

In the event a student is confirmed to be positive with COVID-19, a parent or guardian must report the absences to the Principal’s office by calling (575) 627-2642 (elementary campus) or (575) 627-2643 (middle campus).  The Secretary will consult with the nurse on duty as necessary.

Unless the school or the associated grade level has hit a threshold in which school administration and the nurse’s office have made the determination to temporarily move to remote instruction, there is no remote option.  Daily absences due to testing positive for COVID-19 will be marked as excused absences.  If the student is feeling well enough, they can get some work done asynchronously via Schoology, but it is not a requirement.  All work can be made up upon their return to school.

SGS staff members who are confirmed to be positive with COVID-19 must report it to the nurse’s office as quickly as possible.  The nurse’s office will work with school administrator on leave paperwork.  In addition, SGS teachers are responsible for requesting a substitute for the days that they are absent due to the positive case.

The statewide requirement for schools to do deep cleaning of spaces occupied by COVID-19 infectious individuals, schools to maintain a daily cleaning schedule, particularly for high-touch surfaces, has been lifted. 

CCPS teachers will continue to spray high-touch surfaces in their rooms with approved disinfectant at least once per day, and CCPS custodial staff members will clean every room daily with regular (minimally monthly) disinfecting fogging of the entire building, including all common touch points.