Hope Christian School in Albuquerque has agreed to pay a $5,000 fine for violating a state public health order on mask wearing, the New Mexico Public Education Department announced Thursday.
The Department of Public Safety delivered a notice of violation to the nondenominational Christian school in September after Hope Christian Elementary School Principal Robyn Taylor wrote in an email in August the school would not require masks.
Hope Christian is the state’s largest private school with 1,400 students, according to the education department, and it has campuses for preschool through high school.
The Public Education Department issued a mask requirement for schools July 26. The state requires private schools to adhere to the department’s COVID-19 rules.
Five photos taken Aug. 12 showed “unmasked individuals of all ages” at the private school, the education department said Thursday.
The department reported the school dropped a request for an evidentiary hearing on the matter Wednesday.
The school’s lawyer, Matthew Spangler, wrote in a letter the school did not believe the violation was warranted but “has made an economic decision to cease its dispute and conclude this matter.”
The Public Education Department has an anonymous reporting portal for concerns over COVID-19 policy violations, available at nmgov.force.com/pedincidentreport/s.