The Montezuma Hot Springs and Dwan Light Sanctuary on the United World College-USA campus will remain closed to the public until the COVID-19 situation improves.
“We are in a wait-and-see mode with the governor since she just tightened things up,” said Taylor Gantt, chief financial and operations officer for the international high school in Montezuma.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced this week that the state will continue to require people to wear face masks in public settings until the end of August. In addition, Lujan Grisham continued the prohibition on indoor dining based on surging COVID-19 infections and concerns that gathering without face masks to eat can increase risks of transmitting the disease.
Martin Leger, president of Friends of the Montezuma Hot Springs, said residents continually ask him about the reopening of hot springs, which have been closed since March 8, 2020, due to COVID-19.
“I’m approached at least 10 times a week,” said Leger, whose nonprofit manages the hot baths owned by UWC-USA. “They want to soak.”
“My biggest response is it’s up to UWC,” Leger said. “The rationale I give is we have COVID exploding in all the states around us. People from all over the place stop and soak. You don’t know where they’ve come from, or where they’ve been. People seem to understand.”
Last year, the UWC-USA Board of Trustees agreed to lease the hot baths to FMHS to reduce the legal exposure of the school, while empowering community members to take greater responsibility for site management.
“Those leasing details are still in process, which is why we still have the authoritative position on the opening/closing,” Gantt said. “ If the lease agreement was complete, that would be FMHS’s decision.”
Students began returning to campus on Aug. 1, however, the campus is closed to non-essential visitors, Gantt said.
“We want this to be the safest option they have, compared to where they are currently living,” Gantt said.