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To: NMSU Community
From: Ruth A. Johnston, Chief COVID-19 Officer
June 23, 2020

COVID-19 Rapid Response Team Report

Last Tuesday, we rolled out our NMSU Ready plan – a work in progress that lays out the expectations, precautions, and actions that will help us create a safe and vibrant environment for our students this fall. We asked you to read it, think about it, and give us your feedback on ways that it can be improved – and you delivered!

You submitted questions in many areas where we knew a decision was needed, as well as some concerns we hadn’t yet considered. We are listening and we’re incorporating your feedback in real time. These ideas and concerns go straight into our COVID-19 Rapid Response Team agenda so we can identify a solution.

Please continue to share your thoughts as we work to revise and improve our living #NMSUReady document. You can easily submit a question at

#NMSUReady plan updates for June 23

We’ve already issued the first update to the NMSU Ready plan, and that is available here. As promised, we’ll provide a quick overview of the revisions in our Tuesday updates, so you can quickly locate more information about each of them in the document.

  • The Return to Campus training, which is required for all employees and students, will be offered to students online (pp. 5-6).
  • Details about screening, testing, and tracking have been updated and clarified (p. 7).
  • Additional counseling staff is being added to Aggie Health and Wellness Center to expand emotional and behavioral health support for our Las Cruces campus students (p. 11).
  • Resident students traveling to the Las Cruces campus by airline are asked to arrive for early move-in by August 1, 2020 (p. 12).
  • Reusable masks will be available for students to purchase from vending machines around campus (p. 14).

Office hours and phone lines

We’ve established standards for staffing administrative offices that work with students, such as dean’s and departmental offices, library, academic advisors, student services, and other units.

From now through the end of July, when many offices are continuing to operate through telework, phones are to be answered by a person (not voicemail) whenever possible between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Beginning Monday, August 3, 2020, offices that serve students will reopen, if they are not already open, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a minimum of two employees present to ensure backups and lunch coverage. Supervisors are welcome to be creative about staffing coverage when physically adjoining departments and other situations allow it. These offices are also expected to answer phones during those operating hours.

If you have questions about staffing or service expectations, start with your supervisor. Most decisions about what reopening looks like for each unit will be made at the local level, informed by the college and unit plans, to respond to the needs of each office and those they serve.

Remember, the latest version of our NMSU Ready plan, with all recent updates clearly marked and dated, is always available at We look forward to continuing to improve this plan, and thank you again for your excellent feedback this week!

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