Based on new guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the New Mexico Department of Health and the New Mexico Public Education Department announced today that school closures in New Mexico are no longer necessary for health reasons, according to a press release.
Local school districts will need to decide when and how to best reopen the 16 schools previously closed in Socorro, Deming, Carlsbad, Lordsburg and Veguita due to probable cases of H1N1, the release said.
“We are providing the best guidance we can with current information from CDC,” Health Secretary Alfredo Vigil stated in the release. “The national investigation into H1N1 is evolving daily. We know it’s challenging for families and schools to change plans, and we are doing our best to give the public information as soon as we have it.”
CDC had previously recommended closing schools based on probable cases, which the Department of Health decided to do in conjunction with the Public Education Department and local school districts.
CDC now recommends school closure is not advised for a suspected or confirmed case of H1N1 and, in general, is not advised unless there is significant faculty or student absenteeism that interferes with the school’s ability to function, the release said.
CDC based its new guidance on a review of case reports that describe the severity of H1N1 cases in the U.S. and the experience of other states closing schools due to probable cases.
“The information around this illness continues to evolve,” Education Secretary Veronica C. García said in the release. “As educators we will continue to take the lead from the medical community and do all we can to safeguard our children.”