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August 6, 2021

Dear Tiger Community,
As you are aware, the New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED) has provided schools with mandates for the upcoming 2021-2022 school year. In order to fulfill our legal obligations and ensure the safety of students and staff during this time, the Aztec Municipal School District is required to follow all applicable rules outlined in the COVID-19 Response Toolkit for New Mexico’s Public Schools found here. The Aztec Municipal School District will not be imposing additional rules beyond those found in the toolkit; however, as we begin navigating this new landscape, we are asking for your assistance in the first week of school.

Per NMPED requirements, we must verify vaccination status for secondary students wishing to provide evidence of vaccination. All secondary students, grades 6 through 12, will be allowed the option to not wear a mask indoors and on busses, provided that evidence of full vaccination is submitted to the school’s nursing office. As students submit this documentation, they will be provided a “Mask Pass” – a card issued to them signifying that they have submitted the appropriate documentation of vaccination. It is crucial that students receiving this “Mask Pass” carry this card with them at all times when not wearing a mask. Consequently, students who do not have their “Mask Pass” with them on any given day will be required to wear a mask.

In order for a secondary student to receive a “Mask Pass”:
  1. Students will submit the appropriate vaccination documentation to their school’s nursing staff.
  2. The “Mask Pass” will be issued no sooner than 14 days after the completion of the vaccination series/second dose.
  3. Within two school days of receiving the vaccination documentation (see #2), the school’s nursing staff will issue a student-specific “Mask Pass” to the student. The “Mask Pass” must be with the student at all times in District buildings and busses when not wearing a mask. Additionally,  students not wearing a mask must present their “Mask Pass” to any school employee when prompted.

As a result of the NMPED’s requirements outlined in the COVID-19 Response Toolkit for New Mexico’s Public Schools and the processes outlined above, the Aztec Municipal School District must require that all secondary students wear a mask until they have submitted their evidence of vaccination and receive their “Mask Pass”. Masks will be provided to those in need of one. Those secondary students who have previously submitted their vaccination evidence will receive their “Mask Pass” on their first day of school.

At elementary campuses, all students and staff, regardless of vaccination status are required by the NMPED to wear a mask.

The Aztec Municipal School District would also like to note that all students, grades Pre K-12, regardless of vaccination status, are not required to wear a mask on school grounds when:

  1. Actively eating or drinking (indoors or outdoors)
  2. Are outside (passing periods, recess, classes held outdoors, etc.)

As an educational organization with State-approved licenses (teachers, administrators, educational assistants, etc.), we are required to follow the mandates contained in the COVID-19 Response Toolkit for New Mexico’s Public Schools or risk affecting our staff’s livelihoods by having their licenses revoked. Additionally, requirements pertaining to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration(OHSA), applicable insurance regulations, as well as applicable Employment and Labor laws, require Aztec Municipal School District to follow these mandates for the health, safety, legal, and fiscal well-being of our employees. Failure for us to comply with these rules can demonstrate negligence on the organization’s behalf, potentially costing taxpayers millions in legal costs and insurance premiums. As a District, we have a commitment to all of our stakeholders to provide an environment wherein everyone is Inspired, Safe, and Fulfilled. We can accomplish this by ensuring that applicable rules, regulations, and laws are followed protecting both people and precious resources.

As a reminder, the Aztec Municipal School District supports students and staff who desire to wear a mask at all times, regardless of vaccination status.

As NMPED requirements change, we will adapt to these rules and will be sure to accurately and quickly communicate said changes with all of our stakeholders.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation as we navigate the new and uncertain times in education and the State of New Mexico.

Aztec Municipal School District

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