Measure Combats COVID Case Surge, Accelerates Return to Safe and Sustainable In-Person Learning

SANTA FE – The New Mexico Department of Health (DOH) and the Public Education

Department (PED) today announced a delay in the return to in-person learning after the winter break, in an effort to help mitigate what may be a post-holiday surge in COVID-19 cases in New Mexico and to minimize the risk of exposure in in-person learning environments during that time.  

Details include:

  • No in-person learning will be permitted during the weeks of January 4 and January 11, 2021. 
  • Schools previously operating in the hybrid model may return to their hybrid schedules the week of January 18, 2021. In addition, those operating small-group instruction in the remote stance may also begin welcoming their 5:1 groups of K-3 and Special Education students back to school beginning January 18, 2021.
  • All Local Education Authorities must participate in increased surveillance testing following the winter break.
  • Surveillance testing will be required for 10% of onsite staff for at least two weeks prior to offering in-person student services.

“Our goal remains unchanged: to save lives and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Today’s actions will help us achieve that goal – and ultimately, help schools and students return to in person learning more quickly,” said DOH Acting Cabinet Secretary Billy Jimenez.  

“We are hopeful that with these additional mitigation efforts, we will be able to welcome many more students back into their classrooms in the New Year. Our children have experienced a school year unlike any other and while we are proud of their resiliency and perseverance, we are eager to see them amongst their peers and thriving back in school,” said Public Education Department Cabinet Secretary Ryan Stewart.

Additional press inquiries should be directed to Judy Robinson, PED Deputy Communications Director, at