New Mexico Highlands University announced Tuesday night that in-person learning would be suspended until at least Aug. 23, citing a rise in cases on campus and in San Miguel County. 


The university said in its announcement that the in-person pause was intended to allow for better testing to be arranged, and for contract racing systems to be better put into place. 

Online classes will continue as normal during the pause. University spokesman Sean Weaver told the Optic Wednesday it was possible the pause of in-person learning could be extended, but no official decision had been made. 

“If the situation on campus, Las Vegas and the county deteriorates, it is likely we’ll go back to last semester’s model,” Weaver told the Optic on behalf of NMHU. “That has not been decided; we’re hoping a pause in conjunction with the mask mandates and vaccination mandates for students, faculty and staff will lead to a continuation of the face-to-face courses already scheduled.”

Between Tuesday and Wednesday, the university recorded 16 positive tests for COVID-19.

NMHU announced at a special Board of Regents meeting last week that all students and staff would either be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to routine COVID-19 testing. 

In terms of contact tracing, Weaver said it was likely the state will lend some support, but most of the work will be done internally by university staff because they have direct records of who is what classes, and in which residence halls students reside. 

The NMHU campus will remain open for student services during the pause. Staff should report to work as normal. Supervisors should ensure face-to-face contact with students is limited and follow COVID-safe protocols. Faculty members are permitted to enter and work on campus within the context of the university’s COVID guidelines. 

This remains a developing situation, and more details and updates will be provided as the Optic receives them. 

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