Common Questions About Positive Covid Cases In Schools

Like most school systems who have returned to in-person learning, students and staff are beginning to test positive for COVID-19 at our APS schools. Your union has fielded a lot of questions about how school closures will be managed. We worked with APS and consulted the PED Toolkit to produce this quick fact sheet for educators and the public to use.

Another area of concern has been accessibility of COVID leave for employees. We have included some explanations that may help you through a difficult leave situation. You can also find air quality regulations and COVID response protocols.

Finally, we’ve included APS’s RAPID RESPONSE TO COVID-19 POSITIVE


PED Toolkit states

School Closure:

  • Consult w/ NMPED Rapid Response Team and your School Health Advocate to determine which areas, if any, to close. ATF recommends knowing the Covid 19 Point Person in your school. – (The principal or AP are the point person for every school) 
  • Schools will only have to close if they reach the rapid response closure threshold of four rapid responses in a 14-day period.

One case in one area: 

  • One or more confirmed cases w/in same classroom. Close off area. Wait 24 hours to disinfect. Open windows and doors after disinfection occurs. Can be reopened. Students/staff who’ve been in close contact of positive case should quarantine 10 days w/ testing encouraged.

Two cases w/in 14 days:

  • Follow procedures above for closing affected areas, waiting 24 hours to disinfect and then reopening the space with increased air circulation.

Considerations for siblings and household members

  • When a household member tests positive, all household members should quarantine during the positive individual’s isolation period and for an additional 10 days afterwards.  It’s recommended they are tested for COVID-19.

School Staff/ Student Decision Tree: 

  • If you’re experiencing any symptoms of Covid 19 and haven’t been tested:

1)    Stay home, and it’s highly recommended you are tested.

2)    If at school, notify your supervisor and leave campus as soon as possible.

3)    Call your doctor, and it’s highly encouraged one is tested.

4)    If test is negative, stay home until symptoms improve and you are fever-free for 24 hours.

Following a positive test:

  • Stay home for 10 days after symptom onset and you are 24 hours fever-free. COVID leave is applicable in this situation as per the APS/ATF MOU. See link below.

Have you been in CLOSE contact w/ a confirmed case during their infectious period? 

  • No – Continue going to school unless classroom/cohort has been quarantined.
  • Yes – Stay home 10 days after last exposure to confirmed case. COVID leave is applicable in this situation as per the APS/ATF MOU. See link below.

Vaccinated employees and exposure

  • I am vaccinated, and then there is a confirmed exposure do I still need to quarantine?
    • If someone is fully vaccinated past 2 weeks OR has tested positive in the past 90 days they do not quarantine.

COVID-19 Process Clarifications:

How do I take time off for COVID related activities?

  • If your shot is scheduled during the duty day, work with your administrator to get site-based coverage. There is no leave entered into the system.
  • If you are sick after your shot and need to take the day off, let your administrator know and contact the leaves office. You can use COVID leave.

Process for extending duty day to cover COVID related issues, like longer than normal pick up.

  • Principal should ask for volunteers.
  • Extension of the duty day is only by mutual agreement.
  • If you agree, you will be paid at your hourly rate. (access time sheet here)

What are the air quality requirements?

  • Your room must have one of the following:

·       Operable windows

·       Outside doors

·       Operable dampers

·       MERV 9 or above filters

·       If you do not have at least one of the above, then APS shall provide portable, in-room HEPA air purifier.

Reporting COVID-19 Safety Concerns

If you believe there are safety concerns at your building, please follow this process:

1. Talk to your principal or supervisor. They should be able to get a work order to have the problem fixed. Ask your principal to give you the work order number.

2. If the problem persists, please use our APS BUILDING READINESS CHECKLIST to indicate your area of concern.

  • ATF will monitor the form and we will send your concern directly to Dr. Gabriella Durán Blakey, Chief Operations Officer (Interim) at Albuquerque Public Schools.

3. If the problem still persists, journey through the NM PED COVID-19 Safety Concerns Portal and file a report.

Other Questions:

  • If a child tests positive for COVID-19 in the school, is the office required to tell the teachers? And are the parents in the class required to know?
    • Yes, the principal has a letter to send out and all parents of students who need to be quarantined are notified. The letter goes to the entire school, and families of students with close contact are notified to quarantine.
  • If we have a student who had a sibling at home due to middle school class closing for 10 days, should that student be home as well?
    • No, the sibling of someone whose class was closed can go to school as they regularly do unless their sibling was sent home because they test positive for COVID-19.

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