Dear Early Childhood Colleagues,
Considering New Mexico’s data that reflects dropping COVID-19 cases, a 37 percent decline in hospitalization rates, high vaccination rates, and the availability of effective treatments, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has announced that indoor mask wearing is no longer mandatory. This change takes effect immediately today, February 17, 2022. A new public health order is forthcoming and will be posted here: Public Health Orders and Executive Orders.
Under the new public health order, the use of masks indoors is no longer a requirement, except for public hospitals, profit or nonprofit private hospitals, general hospitals, special hospital nursing homes, assisted living facilities, adult day cares, hospice facilities, rehabilitation facilities, State correctional facilities, juvenile justice facilities, residential treatment centers, the New Mexico State Veterans’ Home, and community homes.
Regarding early childhood programs, indoor mask wearing will no longer be required for early childhood professionals (child care, PreK, home visitors, and early intervention specialists), children, or facility visitors. All other health and safety requirements not related to masking remain in place until further notice.
Although mask wearing is no longer a requirement for early childhood organizations, these independent businesses can make their own decisions on whether staff, children, and families will be required to wear masks indoors. ECECD encourages programs to establish their own written policies regarding masking for staff, children, and facility visitors based on local risk levels, individual circumstances, and parental input. If families, children, and staff continue to choose to wear masks, they must be permitted to do so without any penalty, discrimination, or harassment.
ECECD appreciates your ongoing partnership as we seek to ensure that early childhood education and care settings remain safe for children, families, and staff. ECECD will hold a special early childhood community call on Tuesday, Feb. 22 at 8 a.m. to discuss the change and respond to questions. The call will be dedicated exclusively to discussing the updated Public Health Order. An updated COVID-19 Response Toolkit for New Mexico Child Care Facilities and Early Childhood Professionals is forthcoming.
Special Community Call to share updates and answer questions
Tuesday, February 22 at 8 a.m.