FARMINGTON – Four schools in Bloomfield will return to online instruction after an increase in positive COVID-19 tests among students.
Mesa Alta Junior High School and Central Primary School have moved to remote-only instruction with plans to reopen April 26, said Judy Robinson, spokeswoman with the New Mexico Public Education Department.
Robinson said Bloomfield Superintendent Kimberly Mizzell decided to close the high school “because there were enough potential exposures among staff members who chose not to be vaccinated that Mesa Alta could no longer support in-person learning.” Mizzell decided to close the primary school because a majority of the students at the school would have had to quarantine because of close exposure to two 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. “We were going to have to quarantine 223 elementary students.”
Bloomfield High School and Charlie Y. Brown High School were also closed starting Thursday for a two-week period and switched to online learning.
None of the schools reached the state threshold to trigger a mandatory closing. That threshold is four positive rapid responses in 14 days. 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.
“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. “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.”
Farmington Municipal Schools continue to offer in-person learning, but “that could very well change,” said spokeswoman Renee Lucero.