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As Covid-19 spreads, Las Cruces Public Schools increase testing opportunities for new semester

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - With the spring semester starting on Monday, Las Cruces Public Schools leaders plan to provide more opportunities for Covid-19 testing with the intent of keeping schools open.

"The 'test to stay' program ensures that students who have been exposed but are not positive can stay in school and not have to quarantine," said Kelly Jameson, a spokeswoman for the district.

Jameson told ABC-7 that testing is currently available at three high schools. She said the district hopes Centennial High School can join that list next week.

However, she did say there is a possibility that a school may close if there is a serious outbreak.

“I am very worried," said Isela Hernandez, a mother of an eighth-grader at Picacho Middle School. “When you have a child like I do, you are going to do everything to keep your child safe."

She said her teenager's asthma is so severe, he was hospitalized with pneumonia five times before the pandemic even started.

“Every time he got sick with pneumonia, it always turned into a six-day ICU stay," she said.

With Covid-19 spreading in the community, she worries his vaccination might not be enough to protect him. However, she also said online learning was a great challenge for him.

"I feel like I'm between a rock and a hard place, because I know he’s not going to do well at home, but at the same time, I’m very worried about him going to school," Hernandez said.

“Parents are in control," Jameson said. "They have the ultimate decision to make when it comes to sending your child to school."

Jameson said parents can continue to enroll their students in the Virtual Learning Academy if they feel their child is unsafe at school. She said the district is doing everything possible to ensure buildings are safe for children.

“Keeping schools open has been the goal since the beginning of the pandemic," she said.

Kate Bieri

Kate Bieri is ABC-7’s New Mexico Mobile Newsroom reporter and co-anchors ABC-7’s weekend evening newscasts.


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