NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Three more schools are closing because of COVID-19 cases. The New Mexico Public Education Department says Mesa Alta Junior High and Central Primary in Bloomfield and Socorro High School are moving to remote learning. NMPED says Mesa Alta reported no Rapid Responses since Jan. 26, and Central Primary has reported none since Jan. 29, when it had two. Socorro High has had two recent Rapid Responses — one case on April 8 and two cases on April 9.
“We are not out of the woods when it comes to this virus, and we will not hesitate to move a building to remote learning if safety conditions warrant such actions,” Public Education Secretary Ryan Stewart said in a news release. “I thank the school staff and district leaders for taking these cases seriously and making the necessary and tough decisions to ensure that schools do not spread the disease and that students and staff are kept safe.”
Under the state guidelines, four or more cases mean a school has to shut down for two weeks. NMPED says the schools are closing voluntarily and out of an abundance of caution. The schools plan to reopen on April 26. On Monday, it was announced that Eldorado High School in Albuquerque would close because they reported four cases.
According to a news release, Bloomfield Superintendent Kimberly Mizzell made the decision to close Mesa Alta because there were potential exposures among staff members who chose not to be vaccinated. The news release states that the decision to close Central Primary was due to a majority of the students at the school would have had to quarantine as close contacts to two positive cases.
“They were in the lunch line. They were at recess. They were in the pickup line. The potential exposure was very widespread,” Mizzell said in the same news release. “We were going to have to quarantine 223 elementary students.”
Meanwhile, in Socorro, Superintendent Ron Hendrix decided to close the high school because seven students have tested positive since Thursday. None of the schools reached the four Rapid Responses needed to trigger a mandatory closure. NMPED says a Rapid Response is one or more cases reported in a single day of a person being infectious while on campus, along with any positive cases with a testing day up to one day after the reported cases.
The news release says Socorro Consolidated Schools will hold a COVID testing clinic Thursday at Sarracino Middle School for any student in the district who wants to be tested.