EDITOR'S NOTE: Following this announcement, the NMSU system revised its requirement, stating that everyone, regardless of vaccination status or social distancing opportunities, must wear a mask while indoors on any of its campuses or offices statewide.
In response to guidance released Tuesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and recommendations by New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, New Mexico State University leaders have announced a change to mask-wearing requirements for NMSU system campuses and offices throughout the state.
In a memo to campus Thursday, NMSU System Vice Chancellor Ruth A. Johnston, who also serves as the university system’s chief COVID-19 officer, said masks will be required beginning Monday, Aug. 2, at all indoor NMSU system locations and offices around the state when it is not possible to maintain six feet between individuals.
“The latest research indicates that even vaccinated people could transmit the virus – especially the newer variants that are spreading rapidly,” Johnston said. “This step follows expert public health guidance and will help protect the health and safety of our students and workforce, as well as the communities we serve.”
Affected NMSU system locations include the Las Cruces, Doña Ana Community College, Alamogordo, Grants, and Carlsbad campuses as well as New Mexico Department of Agriculture and Cooperative Extension Service offices and Agricultural Science Centers around the state.
The updated indoor mask requirement applies to all classrooms, labs, meeting rooms, vehicles and other spaces, and to all faculty, staff, students and visitors to NMSU campuses and offices, regardless of vaccination status. In addition, unvaccinated people must continue to wear masks indoors at all times.
“The situation continues to evolve, and we must be flexible in our planning,” Johnston said. “We’ll continue to monitor guidance from the CDC and the New Mexico Department of Health, and will update our requirements as that guidance evolves and as conditions warrant.”
On Thursday, Lujan Grisham signed an executive order requiring all state employees to either be fully vaccinated or otherwise submit to regular COVID-19 testing. Johnston said NMSU leaders are seeking additional guidance and will provide an update as soon as possible on how this mandate applies to the NMSU system.
Information about the NMSU Now pandemic action plan can be found at now.nmsu.edu.