Students, staff required to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status

Dr. Gerry Washburn

Parents, Guardians, and Members of the Carlsbad Community,

On Aug. 10, 2021, students will begin returning to our schools and on Aug. 11, 2021 all of our  students will be back in their schools. This is a cause for celebration. Last year at this time, we were preparing to open in a fully remote setting for all students. To know that our students will be in classrooms and begin sports, band, choir and other activities in an in-person setting is a big step towards returning our students to a sense of normality and stability. We are all thankful that this is possible.

More: COVID-19 cases increase in Eddy County while percentage of vaccinated remains low

The guidelines for school year 2021/2022 were released by the Public Education on Monday, July 26, 2021. Under those guidelines, all elementary students and staff must wear masks while attending school. The District has the latitude to allow vaccinated staff and students to attend school without masks. To do this we must require proof of vaccination and keep a record of that, just like we do with required immunizations. The day this guidance was released the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a recommendation that all K-12 students and staff be masked in indoor settings. This recommendation aligned with the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation that all students and staff attend school wearing masks.

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

More: Vaccines: A guide for parents

We are governed by the Public Health Order currently in effect. Educators licensed by the State of New Mexico are required to adhere to the rules as issued. Failure to do so can result in revocation of licensure, among other penalties. The School Board, as public officials, are required to ensure that the schools comply with all State and Federal Laws and Regulations. Failure to do so can result in the suspension and or removal of the School Board by the Public Education Department.