Carlsbad school district grapples with statewide rise in COVID-19 cases

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Since Carlsbad Municipal Schools returned to in-person learning on March 29, hundreds of students were quarantined after potential exposure to COVID-19, about year after the pandemic first struck New Mexico and led to districts throughout the state shifting to virtual classes.

Superintendent Gerry Washburn said a total of 733 students were placed on quarantine, about 8.4 percent of the 8,660 students in the district, per the National Center for Education Statistics.

There were 19 confirmed student cases of COVID-19 since the return to full, in-person learning – eight in elementary school, four in middle school and seven in high school.

More:Eddy County moves from turquoise to yellow in NM COVID-19 risk map

Meanwhile, 25 staff members were quarantined since March 29, with four confirmed cases.

Washburn said the quarantines “come and go,” meaning the current number is much lower than the total reported since in-person classes resume.

And the District hasn’t seen any school closures, he said, which can be triggered if a school reports four cases within a 14-day period.

More:Carlsbad Mayor reminds residents to remain alert in COVID-19 battle

Carlsbad Municipal Schools Superintendent Gerry Washburn discusses the COVID-19 pandemic with Lt. Gov. Howie Morales, Nov. 10, 2020 in district's administration building.

“I was worried when I talked to the board that our case counts were nudging up,” he said. “We’ve done a real good job of quickly identifying all the kids who have been exposed. We’ve been able to respond to those and minimize the impact of the cases we did have.”

The New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) reported it closed El Dorado High School in Albuquerque when it reached the threshold on April 10, which also applies to businesses in New Mexico.

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