Due to an increase of COVID-19 cases in Socorro County, New Mexico Tech will require masks on campus regardless of vaccination status.
Cathy Cook | El Defensor Chieftain


From New Mexico Tech President Stephen G. Wells:

In compliance with the Governor’s Office, New Mexico Public Health Order, and CDC guidance, as of August 2, 2021, Socorro County is considered an area of substantial COVID-19 transmission. New Mexico Tech is now requiring all students, faculty and staff to wear a mask in public indoor settings on New Mexico Tech property, including off-campus offices. This expectation applies to all individuals, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, unless they are alone in an office, lab, classroom, or residence hall room.

It will take NMT a few days to update our campus signage, so please ensure that the information about this mask update is being communicated clearly to all employees and students. Please note that this announcement supersedes all previous guidelines on campus.

The NMT COVID-19 Task Force and I will continue to monitor the guidance from the Governor’s Office, the NMDOH, and the CDC and update our COVID-19 requirements as conditions change.

Vaccines are safe and effective

According to the CDC, the Delta variant is more than two times as transmissible as the original strains circulating at the start of the pandemic and is causing large, rapid increases in infections, which could compromise the capacity of some local and regional health care systems to provide medical care for the communities they serve.

Fortunately, our vaccines are working and continue to be very effective in preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, or worse. Once you are vaccinated, you are helping protect the lives of those in our community who cannot get vaccinated, such as children and other vulnerable community members.

If you have not yet been vaccinated, please talk to your health care provider or schedule a vaccine appointment through vaccinenm.org and help Socorro County and New Mexico stay ahead of this latest surge in transmission. If you get vaccinated in August, the State of New Mexico will give you $100 through its new incentive campaign.

NMT’s leadership is working on scheduling more on-campus vaccine opportunities in August, but in the meantime, the Socorro Walmart and Socorro Public Health Office (less than 1/2 mile from campus) both have many convenient appointment times.

And as a reminder, if you’re already vaccinated, please consider voluntarily reporting your vaccination status to your department or division supervisor as part of NMT’s voluntary vaccination reporting initiative (thank you to the many who already have).

COVID-19 PCR testing is available

The CDC evaluates community transmission based on case numbers and test positivity rate. Socorro County’s test positivity rate from the past 7 days is currently over 9%, which would have put us into the “yellow” in the Governor’s Red-to-Green framework. More people in Socorro County need to get tested to best demonstrate our county’s true positivity rate.

Since July 20, 2021, New Mexico Tech has offered free shallow nasal self-swab PCR COVID-19 testing on campus. The NMT testing site is located on the lawn area just north of Brown Hall at 801 Leroy Place from 11:30a-12:30p every Wednesday through August 15. NMT will continue to provide testing beyond August 15, and the timing and location for Fall Semester testing will be announced soon. Students, employees, and community members can register for this PCR test via curative.com.

Locally, the Socorro Public Health Office also offers COVID-19 testing. Call 575-835-0971 ext. 3, for more information. Presbyterian may also offer testing, call 575-835-4444 for more information about their availability and scheduling. If neither of those locations have convenient times or availability, you can use the state’s provider portal to find locations a bit farther away (https://cvprovider.nmhealth.org/directory.html).