More than a dozen schools across the state will be closed Monday and state athletic competitions are suspended as probable cases of the H1N1 or the swine flu are investigated, state health and athletic officials announced Sunday.
No schools in Quay County are being closed, officials said.
Fourteen schools will be closed beginning Monday, for the next week, as the New Mexico Department of Health investigates several probable cases of swine flu, said Chris J. Minnick, public information officer for the department.
As a result of the 14 schools closures, the New Mexico Activities
Association Board of Directors has suspended all athletic and activity
programs for all NMAA member schools, until further notice, said Robert
Zayas, director of communications, NMAA.
"We received notice of the school closures from the Department of Health and Public Education Department at 3 p.m. (Sunday)," Zayas said. "As of this moment all state competitions and all high school extracurricular activities are suspended."
Zayas said that the decisions to suspend the state competitions and practices is in the best interest of the athletes, their parents and fans. In the spirit of fairness no NMAA members school will be permitted to hold practices outside of the school day, Zayas said.
"To maintain a fair and equitable playing field for those schools that have been closed, no teams may practice except during their athletic periods," Zayas said. "Once the final bell rings that is it. No more practicing will be permitted."
The NMAA will stay in constant communication with state education and health officials, Zayas said.
"We will provide the schools, parents and public with all current information and updates on the developing situation," Zayas said "Parents, athletes and schools can continue to monitor the NMAA websites for information about the re-scheduling of the upcoming spring state championship events."
"We are following the guidelines set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention," Minnick said. "There is only one confirmed case in New Mexico, an 18-year-old male in Valencia County. He has since recovered from the virus. "
The schools being closed by the New Mexico Public Education
Department and DOH are: Carlsbad High School, Deming Intermediate
School, all public schools in the Socorro Consolidated School District,
including Cottonwood Valley Charter School in Socorro, and all public
schools in the Lordsburg Municipal School District.
Minnick said, that the schools are closed to prevent the possible spread of the virus among the students. He said that schools will conduct a thorough cleaning of high contact surfaces including doorknobs, counters and fixtures with disinfectants during the closures.
"These probable cases of swine flu are those that the Department of Health have already been investigated," Minnick said.
“We are taking quick action to prevent the spread of H1N1 flu in New Mexico by closing the schools in these communities,” said Health Secretary Alfredo Vigil today in a press release. “Parents around the state need to continue to be diligent and keep their children home from school if they develop influenza like symptoms.”