SFCC Enacts COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

New Mexico reports 2,630 new cases over the last three days

Santa Fe Community College announced today it will begin rolling out COVID-19 vaccine requirements for faculty, staff and students at the end of the month.

All faculty and staff who work on campus or need to be at any college facility will need to have received at least their first Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine or single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine by Nov. 30 and be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by convocation on Jan. 6, 2022, or to have obtained a vaccine exemption (disclosure: this story’s author is an adjunct faculty member at SFCC).

Students taking in-person courses will need to have either one Pfizer or Moderna dose or single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine by Jan. 18 and will have until Feb. 18 to receive their second doses.

SFCC President Becky Rowley tells SFR school officials “were pretty sure we were going to do this early on,” but wanted to ensure they had “the capacity to enforce the mandate” and time to work out the details.

“We also watched how it rolled out at other colleges to see if there were any unforeseen pitfalls we would have to deal with,” she said. Both the University of New Mexico and New Mexico State University announced vaccine mandates prior to the start of the fall semester.

“In the meantime our strategy was try to get the numbers of students and faculty staff and students up as much as we could” by offering vaccination clinics, she said, noting that vaccination rates on campus among faculty and staff rival that of Santa Fe County’s, where 93.3% of residents have had at least one shot and 82.5% are fully vaccinated.

“We are not anticipating many faculty or staff who do not agree with the mandate,” Rowley said. “The feedback that we’ve received especially from our faculty, is they want the mandate; they will feel better when they know that a large majority of their students are vaccinated. So spring semester should make them feel a little bit easier.”

As for students, “I’m sure there will be some people who don’t agree with it and they will have to decide whether or not they want to take classes online or how they want to continue their relationship with us.”

According to the school’s vaccine policy, failure to comply with the vaccine requirement could result in discipline up to and including being dropped from classes or termination of employment.

But Rowley does not anticipate a decline in online courses. In-person classes, which currently have been only half-filled intentionally, will scale up in size, but may not increase in number. Some students, she said, have found they appreciate the online courses perhaps more than they had in the past; while others will be anxious to return to campus. “I don’t think there’s going to be a quick rush to dump online instruction,” she said, and notes that SFCC will also be “moving to high-flex classrooms,” in which in-person live instruction also is available synchronously online to students.

A recent study from the National Student Clearinghouse reported that fall 2021 enrollment numbers showed no signs of recovery from last year’s declines. Community colleges, the report said, remain the most adversely affected sector during the pandemic, with a 14.1% total enrollment decline since fall 2019. SFCC has had a 26% decline when comparing fall 2019 enrollment to fall 2021. However, “a large chunk of those missing enrollments are from areas that need to be in-person to function best, areas like fitness and studio arts, for example,” Todd Eric Lovato, executive director for SFCC’s Marketing and Public Relations Department writes via email. And this semester has rebounded by 4% compared with the fall 2020 semester. “There are many who are eager to get past virtual learning spaces and get back to in-class learning,” Lovato writes. “I believe this vaccine requirement is an important step in this direction.”

On campus mask mandates will remain in place—the current public health order requires indoor masks regardless— and Rowley says “we probably won’t remove it even should the state lift the indoor mask requirement.” SFCC reports a total of 104 cases since August 2020, 55 of which were known on-campus cases. The school has implemented a variety of other COVID-safe practices on campus, along with an app to allow campus community members to show proof of vaccination.

“We have a COVID group that meets every week and we talk about all of the issues and troubleshoot anything that’s happening,” Rowley says. As for the vaccine mandate: “I think it gives every body a certain sense of relief.”

The school plans to offer vaccine clinics on campus, as it has been doing for the vaccine boosters. “If we’re making people do this, we want to be able to provide the vaccine in as hassle-free a way as we can so students can just get a vaccine right there on campus,” Rowley said.

SFCC’s new vaccine mandate comes as New Mexico rests at what health officials last week characterized as an “uncomfortable plateau” with COVID-19 cases and has enacted crisis standards of care to address overburdened hospitals.

Today, DOH reported 2,630 new COVID-19 cases for the three-day period of Oct. 30 to Nov. 1, bringing the statewide total to 277,835; the health department has designated 244,893 of those cases as recovered.

Bernalillo County had 658 new cases, followed by San Juan County with 404 and Doña Ana County with 329. Santa Fe County had 102.

The state also announced 12 additional deaths, eight of them recent; there have now been 5,061 fatalities.

As of today, 368 people are hospitalized with COVID-19.*

Currently, 82.4% of New Mexicans 18 years and older have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 72.6% are fully vaccinated. Among that age group, 10.9% have had a booster shot. In the 12-17-year-old age group, 62.6% people have had at least one dose and 54.4% are fully inoculated.

New cases

  • 658 new cases in Bernalillo County
  • 5 new cases in Catron County
  • 68 new cases in Chaves County
  • 23 new cases in Cibola County
  • 22 new cases in Colfax County
  • 37 new cases in Curry County
  • 4 new cases in De Baca County
  • 329 new cases in Doña Ana County
  • 40 new cases in Eddy County
  • 70 new cases in Grant County
  • 3 new cases in Hidalgo County
  • 31 new cases in Lea County
  • 36 new cases in Lincoln County
  • 6 new cases in Los Alamos County
  • 35 new cases in Luna County
  • 135 new cases in McKinley County
  • 4 new cases in Mora County
  • 153 new cases in Otero County
  • 11 new cases in Quay County
  • 74 new cases in Rio Arriba County
  • 31 new cases in Roosevelt County
  • 143 new cases in Sandoval County
  • 404 new cases in San Juan County
  • 21 new cases in San Miguel County
  • 102 new cases in Santa Fe County
  • 11 new cases in Sierra County
  • 13 new cases in Socorro County
  • 55 new cases in Taos County
  • 15 new cases in Torrance County
  • 1 new case in Union County
  • 82 new cases in Valencia County
  • 1 new case among individuals held by federal agencies at the Otero County Federal Prison Facility
  • 6 new cases among individuals held by federal agencies at the Otero County Processing Center
  • 1 new case among New Mexico Corrections Department inmates at the Central New Mexico Correctional Facility in Valencia County

New fatalities

  • A male in his 90s from Bernalillo County who had underlying conditions and was a resident of the Bellamah House in Albuquerque
  • A male in his 40s from Doña Ana County who was hospitalized
  • A male in his 70s from Doña Ana County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions
  • A male in his 60s from Lincoln County who was hospitalized
  • A female in her 90s from McKinley County who was a resident of the Cedar Ridge Inn facility in Farmington
  • A male in his 50s from Otero County who had underlying conditions
  • A male in his 40s from San Juan County who was hospitalized
  • A female in her 70s from San Juan County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions

New fatalities more than 30 days old

  • A female in her 70s from Chaves County who was hospitalized
  • A male in his 70s from Roosevelt County who had underlying conditions
  • A female in her 50s from Valencia County who had underlying conditions
  • A female in her 70s from Valencia County who was hospitalized

Congregate facilities

The Department of Health has identified at least one positive COVID-19 case in residents and/or staff in the past 28 days at the following facilities:

  • Adobe Assisted Living in Las Cruces
  • Albuquerque Heights Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center
  • The Aristocrat Assisted Living Center in Las Cruces
  • Aspen Ridge Lodge Retirement in Los Alamos
  • Aztec Healthcare in Aztec
  • BeeHive Homes of Four Hills in Albuquerque
  • Belen Meadows in Belen
  • Bellamah House in Albuquerque
  • Bloomfield Nursing and Rehab Center in Bloomfield
  • The Bridge of Farmington in Farmington
  • Calibre Sagecrest Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Las Cruces
  • Camino Retirement Homes in Albuquerque
  • Canyon Transitional Rehabilitation Center in Albuquerque
  • Care Free Assisted Living in Albuquerque
  • Casa Arena Blanca Nursing Center in Alamogordo
  • Casa de la Reina Assisted Living in Albuquerque
  • Casa Maria Health Care Center in Roswell
  • Casa Real Genesis in Santa Fe
  • Cedar Ridge Inn in Farmington
  • Crane’s Roost Care Home in Aztec
  • Desert Springs Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Hobbs
  • Elmcroft of Quintessence in Albuquerque
  • Fairwinds Assisted Living in Rio Rancho
  • Fort Bayard Medical Center in Santa Clara
  • Genesis Silver City Care Center in Silver City
  • Gingerich Home for the Elderly in Farmington
  • Good Samaritan Society – Betty Dare in Alamogordo
  • Good Samaritan Society Las Cruces
  • Good Samaritan Society - Las Cruces Village Las Cruces
  • Good Life Senior Living in Ruidoso
  • Haciendas at Grace Village in Las Cruces
  • Landmark at Desert Gardens in Hobbs
  • Las Cruces Post Acute and Rehabilitation Center of Cascadia (Welbrook Senior Living) in Las Cruces
  • Las Palomas Center in Albuquerque
  • The Neighborhood Assisted Living in Rio Rancho
  • The Neighborhood Health Care in Rio Rancho
  • Palmilla Senior Living in Albuquerque
  • Princeton Place in Albuquerque
  • Ramah Adult Care in Ramah
  • The Rehabilitation Center of Albuquerque
  • Sandia Ridge Genesis in Albuquerque
  • Seniorcare LLC - Raven House in Albuquerque
  • Sierra Healthcare Center in Truth or Consequences
  • Sombrillo Nursing Home in Los Alamos
  • Sunny Day Assisted Living in Gallup
  • Vida Encantada Nursing & Rehabilitation in Las Vegas
  • Village at Northrise - Desert Willow in Las Cruces
  • Welbrook Transitional Rehabilitation in Farmington
  • Willow Manor Residential Care Center in Deming

Statewide cases

County totals are subject to change upon further investigation and determination of residency of individuals positive for COVID-19.

  • Bernalillo County: 77,181
  • Catron County: 223
  • Chaves County: 12,856
  • Cibola County: 3,722
  • Colfax County: 1,365
  • Curry County: 7,429
  • De Baca County: 253
  • Doña Ana County: 30,787
  • Eddy County: 10,995
  • Grant County: 2,778
  • Guadalupe County: 611
  • Harding County: 44
  • Hidalgo County: 584
  • Lea County: 13,634
  • Lincoln County: 3,039
  • Los Alamos County: 807
  • Luna County: 4,050
  • McKinley County: 15,224
  • Mora County: 378
  • Otero County: 6,986
  • Quay County: 1,047
  • Rio Arriba County: 5,016
  • Roosevelt County: 2,768
  • Sandoval County: 16,333
  • San Juan County: 22,230
  • San Miguel County: 2,657
  • Santa Fe County: 13,334
  • Sierra County: 1,084
  • Socorro County: 1,758
  • Taos County: 2,495
  • Torrance County: 1,438
  • Union County: 355
  • Valencia County: 9,392

Cases among people being held by federal agencies

  • Cibola County Correctional Center: 455
  • Otero County Federal Prison Facility: 548
  • Otero County Processing Center: 573
  • Torrance County Detention Facility: 356

Cases among people being held by the New Mexico Department of Corrections

  • Central New Mexico Correctional Facility in Valencia County: 334
  • Guadalupe County Correctional Facility: 257
  • Lea County Correctional Facility: 765
  • Northeast New Mexico Correctional Facility in Union County: 176
  • Northwest New Mexico Correctional Center in Cibola County: 130
  • Otero County Prison Facility: 473
  • Penitentiary of New Mexico in Santa Fe County: 224
  • Roswell Correctional Center: 229
  • Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility in Doña Ana County: 235
  • Springer Correctional Center in Colfax County: 151
  • Western New Mexico Correctional Facility in Cibola County: 76

*Per the health department, hospitalization figures include people who were tested elsewhere but are hospitalized in New Mexico, but don’t include people who were tested here but are hospitalized out of state.

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