New Mexicans encouraged to enjoy homecoming festivities safely

Stephanie Montoya
Masks strongly encouraged in crowded outdoor areas

The New Mexico Higher Education and Public Education Departments are encouraging New Mexicans to practice caution when participating in homecoming festivities taking place over the next few weeks. 

"Homecoming traditions are important to our students and our communities, but we all need to do our part to make sure they can be enjoyed safely," Higher Education Secretary Stephanie Rodriguez said. "I thank everyone on our college campuses who continues to do their part by getting vaccinated and wearing a mask to ensure that we can continue to have on-campus activities without disruptions." 

"We’re all eager to get back to our school traditions as quickly and safely as possible,” said Public Education Secretary Designate Kurt Steinhaus. “The best way to do that is to get vaccinated if you’re eligible and follow COVID-Safe Practices, especially during these activities. I’m really grateful to all our teachers, students and families who are leading by example to keep each other safe out there.” 

Masks continue to be required for indoor activities and are also highly encouraged for those participating in crowded outdoor events such as football games, parades, and tailgate events. These events often include participants of mixed age, health status, and vaccination status, making the need to take a proactive community health approach even greater. 

"What we have learned over the last two months is how infectious the Delta Variant is. It has been measured as 2-4 times more infectious than the strains we experienced in the first 15 months of the pandemic, so that means we should plan to be 2-4 times more careful," Acting Department of Health Secretary David R. Scrase, M.D. said. 

As of Thursday, 70 percent of New Mexicans had completed their vaccination series, but only 48 percent of those age 18-24 and 53 percent of those age 16-17 had done so. All New Mexicans are encouraged to visit to learn more about the COVID vaccine, find vaccine events, or make an appointment to get vaccinated.