Rio Rancho Public Schools sent out a notice Tuesday that “an employee or a child” at Sandia Vista Elementary School tested positive for COVID-19.

Sandia Vista Elementary

RRPS properly notified the New Mexico Public Education Department and New Mexico’s Department of Health because of the positive test, which came in the district’s second week with “hybrid” students back in the classrooms, after zero positive tests in the first week.

Fourteen students from the fourth-grade classroom affected, plus four SVE staff members, were quarantined.

The next day, Sept. 23, a third-grader at Puesta del Sol Elementary tested positive, resulting in 14 third-graders and two staff members being quarantined.

Superintendent Sue Cleveland sent out an email early last week, noting about the SVE case: “Per guidance from both NMPED and NMDOH, we are required to investigate to see who had ‘close contact’ with the staff member or student who tested positive for COVID-19. A ‘close contact’ is defined as being closer than 6 feet for more than three minutes to a person who is positive for COVID-19, and all staff and students who were in the same classroom as the infected individual.

“According to NMPED and NMDOH, all staff who were in ‘close contact’ with the infected individual must be tested seven to 10 days after close contact exposure to the positive COVID-19 individual. All students who were close contacts are strongly encouraged to be tested. Both staff and student close contacts must self-quarantine at home for 14 days, regardless of the test result.”

Those deemed to be a close contact were notified via telephone of their status and provided with instructions. Areas of the school, plus buses, in which the COVID-19 positive individual spent time will be disinfected.

Parents were urged to keep an eye on their students.

“If you or your child begin to develop symptoms of COVID-19, which are fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of smell or taste, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, call the COVID-19 Hotline at 1-855-600-3453, then press 8,” the letter said. “Should you experience symptoms of COVID-19, it is important that you call the New Mexico Department of Health facility in Sandoval County to schedule an appointment for testing at 867-2291.

“In addition, we ask that you notify your child’s school.”

RRPS is only sending notification of a positive COVID-19 case to parents, guardians and staff at the impacted school.

For the district’s “Cases & Quarantines Status Updates,” visit