Key updates and quick-reference

New Mexico Department of Health’s ‘Red to Green’ System
Updated 02/25/21

In December, the state of New Mexico launched a new “Red to Green” system to set reopening thresholds and guidelines on a county-by-county basis. The county-by-county framework will permit counties – and the businesses and nonprofit entities within their borders – to operate under less restrictive public health measures when health metrics demonstrating the extent of the virus’ spread and test positivity within those counties are met. 

In order to prevent and mitigate the effects of the spread of the virus, and to ameliorate the strain placed upon the state’s health care system and personnel, counties where the virus is more prevalent will operate under more restrictive public health measures. Likewise, counties where the virus has been or is being suppressed will operate under less restrictive measures. 

Counties will operate under one of three levels: Red, signifying very high risk; Yellow, signifying high risk; and Green, signifying medium risk. 

On Feb. 24, the state announced a new least-restrictive level where all categories of business can operate indoors with minimal occupancy limitations, depending on the risk level of the activity. A county will reach this least-restrictive level, the Turquoise Level, by meeting key health criteria for two consecutive two-week periods and effectively graduating out of the Red-Yellow-Green framework, provided the virus remains suppressed. 

The New Mexico Department of Health maintains an official map displaying each county’s current level on its COVID-19 webpage, cv.nmhealth.org. To capture an average over a period of time that accurately conveys the spread of the virus in each county, the agency updates this map every other Wednesday. 

NMSU continually reassesses and adjusts its operational plans based on guidance from both the New Mexico Department of Health and the New Mexico Higher Education Department. Our campuses will follow this guidance, and may implement more-restrictive measures if our data indicates it is in the best interest of our students and employees. 

Relevant requirements for NMSU at each level are listed here, and a full list of requirements and definitions can be found at cv.nmhealth.org/redtogreen. 

Turquoise Level 

Counties at the Turquoise Level have both a new COVID-19 case incidence rate of no greater than 8 cases per 100,000 inhabitants during the most recent four-week period, and an average percent of positive COVID-19 test results over the most recent four-week period less than or equal to 5%. 

  • Essential businesses (non-retail): No capacity restrictions but operations must be limited to only those absolutely necessary to carry out essential functions 
  • Essential retail spaces: 75% of maximum capacity (indoor and outdoor) 
  • Food and drink establishments (if NM Safe Certified): 75% of maximum capacity for indoor dining; 75% of maximum capacity for outdoor dining 
  • Close-contact businesses: 75% of maximum capacity; no restrictions on outdoor spaces.
  • Large entertainment venues: 33% of maximum capacity for any indoor/enclosed space on premises; 75% of any outdoor space on premises 
  • Recreational facilities: 50% of maximum capacity of any indoor/enclosed space on the premises; 75% of any outdoor space on premises 
  • Bars and clubs: 33% of maximum capacity of any indoor/enclosed space on premises; 75% of any outdoor space on premises, where applicable 
  • All other businesses: 75% of maximum capacity indoors; no restrictions on outdoor spaces 
  • Mass gatherings limit: 150 persons, or 200 vehicles 

Green Level 

Counties at the Green Level have both a new COVID-19 case incidence rate of no greater than 8 cases per 100,000 inhabitants during the most recent two-week period, and an average percent of positive COVID-19 test results over the most recent 14-day period less than or equal to 5%. 

  • Essential businesses (non-retail): No capacity restrictions but operations must be limited to only those absolutely necessary to carry out essential functions 
  • Essential retail spaces: 50% of maximum capacity (indoor and outdoor) 
  • Food and drink establishments (if NM Safe Certified): 50% of maximum capacity for indoor dining; 75% of maximum capacity for outdoor dining 
  • Close-contact businesses: 50% of maximum capacity (indoor and outdoor) 
  • Large entertainment venues: 25% of maximum capacity for any indoor/enclosed space on premises; 50% of any outdoor space on premises 
  • Recreational facilities: 25% of maximum capacity of any indoor/enclosed space on the premises; 50% of any outdoor space on the premises 
  • Bars and clubs: 25% of maximum capacity of any outdoor space on premises, where applicable; indoor not permitted 
  • All other businesses: 50% of maximum capacity (indoor and outdoor) 
  • Mass gatherings limit: 20 persons, 120 vehicles 

Yellow Level 

Counties at the Yellow Level have either a new COVID-19 case incidence rate of no greater than 8 cases per 100,000 inhabitants during the most recent two-week period, or an average percent of positive COVID-19 test results over the most recent 14-day period less than or equal to 5%. 

  • Essential businesses (non-retail): No capacity restrictions but operations must be limited to only those absolutely necessary to carry out essential functions 
  • Essential retail spaces: 33% of maximum capacity (indoor and outdoor) 
  • Food and drink establishments (if NM Safe Certified): 25% of maximum capacity for indoor dining; 75% of maximum capacity for outdoors dining; any establishment serving alcohol must close by 10 p.m. each night 
  • Close-contact businesses: 33% of maximum capacity or 20 customers at one time, whichever is smaller; 33% of any outdoor space on the premises 
  • Large entertainment venues: 25% of maximum capacity of any outdoor space on premises; indoor not permitted with the limited exception of operating up to 25% of maximum capacity for recording and broadcasting entertainment without any in-person audience   
  • Recreational facilities: 33% of any outdoor space on the premises; indoor not permitted 
  • Bars and clubs: May not operate 
  • All other businesses: 33% of maximum capacity (indoor and outdoor) 
  • Mass gatherings limit: 10 persons; 80 vehicles 

Red Level 

Counties at the Red Level are those with a new COVID-19 case incident rate of greater than 8 cases per 100,000 inhabitants during the most recent two-week period and an average percent of positive COVID-19 test results over the most recent 14-day period greater than 5%. 

  • Essential businesses (non-retail): No capacity restrictions but must limit operations to only those absolutely necessary to carry out essential functions 
  • Essential retail spaces: 25% of maximum capacity (indoor and outdoor) 
  • Food and drink establishments: No indoor dining permitted; 25% of maximum capacity for outdoor dining; any establishment serving alcohol must close by 9 p.m. each night 
  • Close-contact businesses: 25% of maximum capacity or 10 customers at one time, whichever is smaller; 25% of any outdoor space on the premises 
  • Large entertainment venues: May not operate 
  • Recreational facilities: 25% of maximum capacity of any outdoor space on the premises; indoor not permitted 
  • Bars and clubs: May not operate 
  • All other businesses: 25% of maximum capacity (indoor and outdoor) 
  • Mass gatherings limit: 5 persons, 40 vehicles 

Spring 2021 Academic Calendar

As we plan for the spring 2021 semester, we continue make operational adjustments in response to the ongoing pandemic.

To decrease the risk of viral transmission associated with travel, the revised spring semester academic calendar splits up the days a spring break would traditionally provide. The plan extends the winter break by three days, allowing faculty more time to prepare for the start of the semester, and includes two days without classes mid-semester. The 2021 spring academic calendar is below, with the changes highlighted:

New Date(s) Previous Schedule
Faculty report back Thursday, Jan. 14 Thursday, Jan. 14
Instruction begins Monday, Jan. 25 Wednesday, Jan. 20
Presidents Day (No classes) Monday, Feb. 15 N/A
Spring Break (No classes) Tuesday, March 23, only March 22-26
Spring Holiday
(No classes, faculty and staff holiday)
Friday, April 2 Friday, April 2
Last Day of Classes Friday, May 14 Friday, May 14

View the Complete Academic Calendar

 


Vaccine availability: What we know now 
Updated: 1/21/2021

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the COVID-19 vaccines have been evaluated in tens of thousands of individuals who volunteered to be vaccinated and to participate in clinical trials. The information from these clinical trials allowed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to determine the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines. These clinical trials were conducted according to rigorous standards set forth by the FDA, and that agency determined that the newly authorized COVID-19 vaccines meet its safety and effectiveness standards. Therefore, the FDA has made these vaccines available for use in the United States under what is known as an Emergency Use Authorization.

Not everyone will be able to be vaccinated right away, and the vaccine may not be available to most of NMSU or the general public until mid-2021. Regardless, we are encouraging all students, faculty, and staff – especially those who work in healthcare settings and clinical rotations – to preregister for the vaccine via the COVID-19 Vaccine Registration System if you haven’t done so already. If you have questions or concerns about the vaccine, visit the New Mexico Department of Health Vaccine web page.

NMSU system employees who must be on campus are now included in Phase 1B of the state’s COVID-19 vaccine allotment plan, and the Department of Health will contact people who are registered to get a vaccine when it is their turn. 

Commuting NMSU system employees who are out-of-state residents will be eligible to receive the vaccine in New Mexico by using their NMSU system campus as their address. 

Las Cruces campus employees should enter 1780 E. University Ave., Las Cruces, NM, 88003 as the address when prompted, and proceed with filling out the profile with occupation and health information. DACC employees should use 2800 Sonoma Ranch Blvd, Las Cruces, New Mexico 88011 as the address. Employees of other campuses around the state may use their campus address, as well, if their home address is outside New Mexico.

Getting the COVID-19 vaccine adds one more layer of protection for our students and employees as well as our communities and our state, but masks, social distancing, and other protective measures will still be required.

The New Mexico Department of Health is leading New Mexico’s COVID-19 Vaccination Preparedness Planning in collaboration with other state agencies, as well as public, private and tribal partners. NMSU campuses are working with NMDOH to serve as vaccine distribution sites. 

Based on the state’s guidance, vaccines will go first to frontline health care workers in hospital settings. As additional doses become available, the state will provide vaccine doses to other frontline healthcare workers and first responders, as well as staff and residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. This is in line with federal recommendations but could change. 

At this time, NMSU is continuing with telework wherever possible for non-essential employees, and the COVID-19 vaccination is not a requirement for return to work or class for the spring 2021 semester. NMSU encourages everyone to receive the vaccine as soon as they are eligible, and expects all employees and students to continue using COVID-safe practices like mask-wearing while on campus, at home, and in the community. Students will reaffirm their personal accountability by signing the Crimson Commitment, while employees must re-take the Return to Campus training. More information on both of these accountability commitments can be found under Personal Responsibility.