COVID Info Center

Latest Information on COVID-19 and LAPS Learning

School Sites Return to In Person Instruction on Monday, January 24th


January 21, 2022

LAPS Families,

After careful consideration of the costs and benefits associated with returning to school, we have made the decision for all of the Los Alamos Public Schools to return to providing in person instruction on Monday, January 24. We want to emphasize that the health and safety of staff and students continues to be the number one priority.

This was a difficult decision. We carefully considered a number of factors, including trends in infections, the risks of in-school spread of the virus, and the many individual and societal costs of having children at home instead of at school and learning remotely instead of in the classroom. We recognize that cases are surging in our community. However, we also recognize that many students need to return to in-person learning as soon as possible. We have decided to return to campuses so that our services are available and with the hope that ten days of remote learning was enough to reduce transmission of the virus.

In making this decision, we consulted with local public health experts, administrators, nurses, teachers, the union, and other staff. Nurses carefully reviewed all reported cases. Staff are tracking when quarantine and isolation times end for both students and staff. Although we know we will have more cases, we are committed to keeping our school environments as safe as possible.

We understand that each family has different needs and comfort levels with COVID- 19. We will make remote learning options available for families that prefer to keep their students home for two more weeks. If you would like to keep your students home, please contact your school principal. The schools will provide you with more information about a plan for your child to continue to learn remotely.

Given the number of new infections in the community, I want to provide below some additional comments on the approach we are taking to reopening schools and the efforts we are making to keep schools as safe as possible.

With the present surge in infections in mind, we are strengthening a number of our mitigation efforts, as noted below.

          • The quality of masks matters and we are providing our staff with KN95 masks.

          • Ventilation is critically important and, as an adjunct to our enhanced ventilation measures we ordered in December HEPA-based air filters for our classrooms. Our purchase (with county funds) is consistent with NM PED guidelines and based on the best available evidence that such filters can further reduce risk of viral transmission in the classroom. There are supply constraints throughout the economy, but we are pushing to get the air purifiers as fast as possible.

          • Testing is central both to knowing who is infected and to keeping our children in school when exposed to infection. Given the terrible constraints on the availability of tests, we must focus our LAPS testing on the "test to stay" program that helps keep staff and students in school. However, we strongly encourage anyone who is symptomatic to take advantage of the PCR testing available in our county. We wish there was enough rapid antigen testing to test all of our students before the return to school. However, there is not. Thus, if you have home tests, it could help facilitate a safe return to school if you test your child just before the return to school, in accordance with the test instructions.

          • We also continue to ask you not to send children to school if they are ill or have any symptoms of COVID. If your child tests positive for Covid please report this information to the school nurse.

          • In light of the increasing number of cases in our community, we also ask that you not send your child to school if there is a positive case in the household, regardless of vaccine status. Such absences will be excused.

          • We have also asked a number of members of the Los Alamos County Health Council with significant experience in public health, epidemiology, and public policy to join our LAPS COVID team meetings. They will provide us on a regular basis with advice that can assist us in moving as close as possible to best practice in mitigation efforts and in communicating about COVID with the community.

          • To more effectively and efficiently answer your questions on the LAPS and COVID-19, we will issue shortly and then update regularly a document with Frequently Asked Questions.

          • We have also hired additional nurses to support our mitigation program. We are also recruiting an additional nurse. If you know someone interested, please encourage them to apply for our position here.

We appreciate the enormous strains that COVID puts on the community. We will continue to monitor case counts in our county and our schools. I want to assure you again that we will do all we can to provide the maximum possible safe in-school learning opportunities to our children.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Guy

Interim Superintendent

Los Alamos Public Schools

Mask 101

Click here for guidance regarding masks, including types of masks, finding the right mask for young children and how to wear a mask properly.

Enhanced COVID-19 Safety Protocols


COVID Response Toolkit

NM PED COVID Response Toolkit Updated 1.11.2022

Changes include:

  • Reduction in self isolation and quarantine from 10 days to five days (page 4)

  • Change in quarantine requirements (eligible adults need booster to avoid quarantine after exposure, children do not – page 4)

  • Change to the definition of fully vaccinated such that the definition aligns to the CDC’s current recommendation for up to date vaccination for an individual, including booster shots (page 4)

  • Change in testing days for test to stay (page 5)

  • Updates to surveillance testing to align with the Public Health Order (page 22)

  • An amendment to the prohibition on unvaccinated individuals sharing sleeping quarters (page 28)

COVID Testing Options

COVID-19 Testing in Los Alamos County (no cost to individual):

CURATIVE shallow nasal swab testing: Los Alamos townsite

Register first: Visit the Curative website at https://curative.com to schedule a date and time.

Testing Dates & Times: Every Tuesday and Thursday from 8 AM - 3 PM

Address & Phone: Parking lot of the Mari Mac Village Shopping Center at 759 Central Avenue | phone: 505.662.8333

Test Results: Results will be sent via text or email (approx. 24 - 72 hours)


PATHOLOGY CONSULTANTS OF NEW MEXICO (PCNM) shallow nasal swab testing: White Rock

No Registration (first-come, first-serve)

Testing Dates & Times: Monday through Friday from 8 AM - 3 PM

Address & Phone: Drive-through testing at Overlook Park in White Rock. First parking lot on the south side of Overlook Drive | phone: 574.622.5600

Test Results: Results will be sent via text or email (approx. 24 - 48 hours)

What to Bring: Insurance cards if insured; however, insurance is not required to receive a test


Free At-Home COVID Tests

Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order #44 free at-⁠home COVID-⁠19 tests. The tests are completely free. Orders will usually ship in 7-12 days.


Order your tests now so you have them when you need them.Here is the link:

https://www.covidtests.gov/


COVID Testing Update for Students

We will continue to offer COVID testing to LAPS students as part of the "Test to Stay" protocols on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:00 am - 11:30 am at 2075 Trinity Dr in Suite S (Follow the COVID signs). Your school nurse will provide you with information regarding this program.

Please do not park directly in front of the businesses along that strip. We want to be good neighbors and avoid blocking their parking for their clients. You can park in the lot behind the building or turn left into the dirt parking area in front of the LAPS sign as soon as you pull into the parking lot. Adults must show a LAPS school ID badge for testing. Testing is typically much busier at 8:00 than later in the morning. Arriving at 10:00, or later, will most likely eliminate the lines. Any students who are late for school due to testing will be excused.

  • If your child is sick, or someone in your home is sick, please keep them at home. All absences will be excused.

  • Notify the school nurse, or school absence line, if someone in your household tests positive for COVID or has COVID symptoms.

Principals and school staff have been working to ensure that we have good plans in place to follow all covid protocols. Schools will follow enhanced safety measures as noted above.


I understand that each family has different comfort levels and needs regarding covid. I am committed to keeping our community and schools safe and to provide consistent learning opportunities for students. The best way for the schools to support your family's needs and answer concerns is through good communication with the school. Please reach out to your principal, teacher, or school counselor with any questions and concerns you have. We will continue to do our best to be as transparent as possible and keep you informed. You can always contact me as well.



COVID Testing Update for LAPS Staff

LAPS will continue to offer rapid COVID testing for any staff member that would like a test. Testing is from 8:00 am - 11:30 am, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, at the school district office at 2075 Trinity Drive in Suite S. Staff members must have their school badge to get a test. When you come, please do not park right in front of the businesses along that strip. There is parking near the back side of the main building. We do not want to interfere with their customer parking.


You can pre-register at https://pmg.app.perseus.id/div/laps. You will get a QR code that PMG will scan when you arrive. You will receive the results by test within an hour of testing through text.


Who should consider testing?

  • Those who traveled over the break and were not tested on return

  • Those who are not fully vaccinated with a booster shot

  • Those who attended large gatherings where masks were not worn at all times.

  • Anyone who has any symptoms should get tested and STAY HOME until symptoms are gone.


The deadline to get a booster shot has been extended to February 1st. Weekly testing for those required to do so will begin the week of January 31st through curative at https://book.curative.com/sites/14121. You can schedule a booster shot at:


We are still following all PED guidelines in the COVID Toolkit. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your school nurse, your school principal, Joe Palmer at j.palmer@laschools.net or Jennifer Guy.


Click on these topic areas for more information

New Public Health Orders effective August 20, 2021

The governor has released new public health orders that are attached here. The orders require all New Mexicans 2 years and older to wear masks indoors. In LAPS public schools, we already have this requirement in place. Everyone should wear a mask indoors at all LAPS facilities. The change is that this new order includes indoor sports. All athletes must now wear a mask while indoors even during competition. No one has to wear a mask outdoors.

All LAPS staff who are not vaccinated will have mandatory weekly surveillance testing. Parents can find information on testing at https://cv.nmhealth.org/covid-19-testing/. You can order at home testing for your student from https://learn.vaulthealth.com/nm/. Contact your doctor for information about testing and help with scheduling an appointment.

If you are interested in getting a covid vaccine for yourself or your child 12 and older, UNM-LA will host a walk-in vaccine clinic on Wednesday, August 18 from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm 1183 Diamond Drive, Suite D. They will have Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines available. This is open to anyone who is 12 years or older. Children under 18 must have parent/guardian consent. You can also schedule an appointment at https://cvvaccine.nmhealth.org/my-registration.html. If you need help scheduling, please contact your school nurse or contact me. All parents should consult their doctor for advice about Covid vaccines. Students who are fully vaccinated are not required to quarantine.

I realize that everyone will have different reactions to this news. Please understand that we will have changes throughout the year as the community situation with the virus changes. I appreciate your patience and kindness with each other and diverse opinions. LAPS is committed to continue to work to keep staff and students safely in school and learning. I am always happy to answer any questions or talk about your concerns. You can also reach out to your school principal or school nurse.

Important Links

Health Order Regarding Masks

Health Order Regarding Vaccines

Covid Testing available in Los Alamos



Update Regarding Masks

The following face coverings are NOT substitutes for face masks: • Masks that have exhalation valves or vents • Bandanas • Scarves • Neck gaiters (also known as a neck fleece) • Face shields in most instances

Guidance for Parents

HOME SCREENING GUIDANCE

Before sending your child to school each day, please check their temperature (keep home if 100.4 or greater), and consider the following questions:


  1. Does your child have a new or unexplained onset of any of the following: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea?

  2. In the past 14 days, has your child had exposure to someone diagnosed with COVID-19? Have they had exposure to someone who is awaiting a COVID-19 test result? (this does not apply to those who are a part of a regular testing program)

  3. Has your child been diagnosed with COVID-19 or is your child awaiting a COVID-19 test result?

  4. Has your child traveled to a restricted state in the past 14 days or had contact with someone that has traveled to a restricted state in the past 14 days? (current exemption for those receiving medical care out-of-state; review all travel restrictions and list of restricted states here)

**If your answer to any of these questions is "yes", please keep your child home and contact the school. Please note that this screening guidance is based on recommendations by the CDC, NMPED, and NMDOH and consistent with Governor Lujan Grisham's latest executive order.


MASK GUIDANCE

Your child must wear a multi-layer face mask to school each day. Per the NMPED, masks with valves/vents, bandanas, scarves, and gaiters are not acceptable.

Please wash masks regularly!