Message from Superintendent Dr. Eugene Schmidt:
Dear FMS parents, students, and staff,
For the hundreds of students and the many staff whose school year has been disrupted by the current quarantine rules, there is a change coming in the next few weeks.
The New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED) made an announcement on Wednesday, November 3, that school districts can begin “Test to Stay,” an opportunity to keep students and staff in school, instead of placement on quarantine. This revision is included in NMPED’s Covid-19 Toolkit guidelines, available at the top of this page.
Parent permission, called opt in, will allow for students who are subject to quarantine rules due to Covid-19 exposure to “Test to Stay” in school. Students without parent permission will continue with current Covid-19 protocols for up to 10 days or more of quarantine and corresponding shift to remote learning. The way it works is a student and/or staff member who has been potentially exposed to COVID-19 would volunteer for a ‘rapid response' antigen test on days one, three, and five following the potential exposure date. Students tested will have positive or negative results in 15 to 20 minutes. If the student or staff members’ results are negative and the staff member or student is not displaying any symptoms, the student and/or staff are allowed to remain in school rather than be sent home to quarantine for up to 10 days.
Importantly, the District will be ordering testing supplies and setting up a system to implement “Test to Stay,” which is no easy feat, but the FMS community should know that this is a great opportunity for parents and staff as a way of staying in school instead of time at home on quarantine.
In closing, even as the District looks to implement a “Test to Stay” protocol, it is still important to continue to use Covid safe practices including wearing a mask, washing hands, and practicing social distancing.
Eugene J. Schmidt, PhD
Test To Stay is currently taking place on the conference room of the former Multicultural Center, located at 1390 E. 20th Street in Farmington.