EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — New Mexico State University students, faculty and staff return on campus on Monday with the safety protocols established in the previous semester.
“We cannot let our guard down ,” said Ruth Johnston, chancellor and COVID-19 officer at NMSU referring to the recent vaccine rollout that brought back hope in fighting the pandemic.
She said everyone on campus is still required to follow the guidelines of the ‘NMSU Now’ requiring social distancing and wearing masks.
Johnston said the university will start utilizing more outdoor spaces once the weather gets warmer to give students more ways to still have a vivid college experience.
“We’re looking for ways to have fun, more recreation, more yoga, more opportunities for people in small groups to engage,” said Johnston.
Faculty of each department chooses whether their instruction will be online, in-person or hybrid, said Johnston, and they are pleaded not to change the format until the end of the semester to provide more stability for students.
Students are encouraged to voice out their concerns about safety, said Johnston, adding they can talk to the faculty to work out what is best for them.
“We’re continuing to do testing every day at Aggie Health and Wellness [Center], we’re specifically doing testing with the residence halls,” explained Johnston.
NMSU campus is both a testing and a vaccination site for the New Mexico Department of Health.
Johnston said the vaccine is being distributed to those who qualify, but the future of vaccination requirements for students, staff and faculty is still hard to predict.
“There’s not enough vaccine, and it hasn’t rolled out well enough for you to even think about requiring it, that might come over time,” answered Johnston.
Athletics are making a come-back this semester, but with no audience.
Johnston said everyone involved with the Athletics department will be required to wear masks, except for athletes when they are actively training or playing.
“People care so deeply at NMSU about each other and about being safe and helping each other, and following the rules,” said Johnston, exclaiming “Go Aggies,” we have one more semester to make it through this.”