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COVID-19 Information for the 2023-2024 School Year

Recommendations for Responding to COVID-19

The emergency response phase of COVID-19 is over.  The state and federal governments have moved out of the emergency phase, and APS has also moved out of the emergency phase.  APS has moved into a phase that promotes individuals following recommendations for responding to the virus.  

As with other communicable diseases, APS will refer to the New Mexico School Health Manual for COVID-19 guidance and response procedures. The manual serves as a resource for schools and the school district, providing information on preventing, identifying, managing, and reporting outbreaks of communicable diseases in schools, including COVID-19.  

Specific to individuals who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, confirmed COVID-19 positive, or exposed to COVID-19, the New Mexico School Health Manual recommends following CDC guidance on isolation and precautions for people with COVID-19, and that is what APS recommends for students and employees.  

What follows is a Q&A to help APS families and employees understand APS recommendations for responding to COVID-19.

Does this mean that COVID-19 is no longer a threat?

COVID-19 continues to spread easily and symptoms can range from mild to severe with some people becoming seriously ill or worse. However, a vast majority recover. In essence, it’s becoming more like influenza, a potentially serious illness that we’ve learned to live with and now have tools to combat the virus.

What if I am experiencing symptoms or test positive for COVID-19?

Our recommendation is that anyone who is symptomatic or tests positive for COVID follow the CDC isolation and precautions for people with COVID-19, which includes the following:

  • If you are symptomatic or test positive for COVID-19, you should stay home for five days.
  • You can return to school or work after five days if you are fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication and your symptoms are improving.
  • A mask should be worn for five days following isolation.

Refer to the CDC list for symptoms of COVID-19.

What if I am exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19?

If a student or employee is around someone who has tested positive, we recommend that CDC guidance on what to do if you were exposed to COVID-19 be followed.

Students, who are symptom-free, who were in close contact with someone who tested positive can go to school and participate in school-related activities regardless of vaccination status.

Employees, who are symptom-free, who were in close contact with someone who tested positive can go to work regardless of vaccination status.

When should I keep my child home?

It is not just recommended for individuals who test positive for COVID-19 to isolate at home. There are certain conditions in which a student should not be at school when sick. The district has sick day guidelines in place to help parents determine when to keep their children home.

When you have questions, please call your school nurse or health care provider.

Over these last three years, we’ve heard a lot about COVID-safe practices. Are those still relevant?

Absolutely. We have tools to combat COVID-19 such as:

  • Vaccines
  • Testing
  • Treatments
  • Mitigation strategies that include staying home when you are sick, masking, hand hygiene, sneezing, and coughing etiquette, increasing indoor ventilation, and social distancing.

Since the emergency phase has passed, is employee COVID-related leave being eliminated?

As of July 1, 2023, there is no longer any paid COVID leave available. Employees are to use their own accrued leave for any further COVID-related absences.

Do students and employees still have to inform their schools and supervisors if they test positive?

Schools will resume normal absence reporting practices for students. It is no longer required for positive COVID-19 cases of students to be reported to schools.

Schools and departments may resume normal absence reporting practices for employees. It is no longer required for positive COVID-19 cases of employees to be reported to their supervisor.  

APS will provide free at-home rapid antigen COVID test kits for students and employees experiencing symptoms while supplies last (contact your school if a parent or contact your supervisor if an employee).

Along with CDC guidance, the New Mexico Department of Health COVID-19 guidance continues to serve as a resource for information on COVID-safe practices, vaccinations, and testing.  

APS families who have questions are encouraged to contact their child’s school, and employees are encouraged to contact their supervisor.

Updated as of July 24, 2023.