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Updated Health and Safety Requirements

April 12, 2021

On March 11, 2020, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham declared a public health emergency in order to maximize the resources available to fight the spread of COVID-19 and minimize public health risks for New Mexicans. The fight against COVID-19 is ongoing, fluid, and requires our collective diligence and attention.

The following is a list of required health and safety practices, effective March 29, 2021, for all New Mexico Child Care Centers, licensed and registered homes, and early childhood professionals.

Required Practices

Licensed providers may return to group size and ratios according to their licensed Star level.

• Access to facility must be limited to essential visitors, which includes breast feeding mothers, therapists, early interventionists and special education staff, FOCUS verifiers, and ECECD regulatory staff, and practicum students.

• Providers must conduct daily temperature checks and screenings for symptoms prior to entry for staff and other essential visitors entering the building.

• Providers must conduct daily wellness checks on every child at the facility.

• Masks are required for all staff, gloves and gowns as needed for wellness screenings of children or health screenings of staff and essential visitors.

• Mandatory mask wearing for children age 3 years and older (unless drinking, eating, or napping).

• Mandatory training for all staff, including cooks and transportation staff, on COVID safe practices.

• Frequent handwashing.

• Clean and sanitize frequently touched surfaces throughout the day and disinfect at the end of each day.

• Children must maintain at least three (3) feet of physical distance, including during naps, when possible. Mats should be placed head-to-toe.

• Providers must eliminate family-style meals; have employees (not children) handle utensils. Wear gloves when serving children. Plate each child’s meal.

• Providers must serve meals in the classroom. If spaces such as cafeterias need to be used—as with licensed out of school time programs—stagger use and clean and sanitize between use.

• Transportation safety requirements:

⬥ Mandatory mask wearing for passengers over three years of age.
⬥ Use the vehicle’s vents and windows to bring in fresh air, avoid using the recirculated air option.
⬥ If possible, maintain one empty space between passengers.
⬥ Require handwashing/hand sanitizer before and after exiting the vehicle
⬥ Clean and sanitize regularly touched surfaces between groups/runs.

• All staff and practicum students must test for COVID-19 monthly.

• Providers must exclude children or staff from the program who have two or more symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and/or test positive.

• Staff and children who were in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 positive case must quarantine for 10 days (unless they are two weeks past full dose of vaccination or have recovered

Health and Safety Requirements Flyer

Click to download: English | Spanish

FAQ Health and Safety Requirements

Click to download: English | Spanish

New Mexico Department of Health

More detailed guidance concerning best practices related to COVID-19 is available from the New Mexico Department of Health.

Rapid Response Hotline

Providers must report all positive cases to the ECECD Rapid Response Hotline (1-833-866-3272), Department of Health (1-855-600-3453), and all positive staff cases to the New Mexico Environmental Department Occupational Health and Safety Bureau: (505) 476-8700 or online at

How is ECECD helping child care facilities keep their staff and children healthy and safe?

When a positive case occurs, ECECD implements its Rapid Response process. This includes temporarily closing the facility for cleaning, as well as contact tracing, instructions on isolation and quarantine, and additional steps.

Please download this memo from ECECD, the NM Public Education Department (PED), and the NM Higher Education Department (HED) to learn more about the Rapid Response process, including information about the state’s Watchlist and Closure list (Spanish version).

If child care providers need additional personal protective equipment (PPE), they may email

What Families Should Expect of Child Care Providers

All licensed facility and registered home provider staff who live or work in a county displayed in red, orange, or yellow are required to get tested for COVID-19 every two weeks. These geographical distinctions are based on a 14-day rolling average of new daily cases and overall positivity rate.

Child care providers in New Mexico are also required to follow the health and safety requirements listed above.

What Child Care Providers Expect of Families

Consistently follow the COVID-19 health and safety requirements defined by the New Mexico Department of Health (DOH), found at NMC COVID-19 Policies (


The Department of Health announced beginning Monday, April 5, all New Mexicans 16+ will be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccine. Currently, Phases 1A, 1B, and 1C are eligible. In total, all of Phases 1A, 1B, and 1C are now eligible. DOH will continue to prioritize vaccine invitations for Phase 1A, New Mexicans 75 years and older, and New Mexicans 60 years and older with a chronic condition. The CDC has indicated that states should expect meaningful increases in vaccine supply over the coming weeks – including significant increases in the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. New Mexico continues to lead the nation in vaccine distribution, and DOH encourages all New Mexicans to register at vaccineNM.orgThe registration site is accessible from a computer or smartphone and is designed to be user-friendly. New Mexicans who have vaccine questions can visit, and CDC FAQ: 

New Mexicans who do not have internet access – please dial 1-855-600-3453, press  option 0 for vaccine questions, and then option 4 for tech support. Due to the volume of  calls, please understand that wait times vary. 


VAULT Testing Updated March 26, 2021 –  The State of New Mexico is proud to offer fast and accurate COVID-19 saliva testing, at no cost, to any person who feels they need a test. COVID-19 saliva testing is available to any person who believes they need to be tested, with or without symptoms. Please select the link below and request codes that will be sent to you automatically via email: Vault Medical Services