Cases of Covid have been spreading in Torrance County, and have had a large impact on the schools.

On Nov. 30, Mountainair Public Schools posted a message on social media that said, “It is with a heavy heart that I inform you that we lost one of our staff members this morning to Covid. Ms. Molina was a huge part of the Mustang family and her loss is tragic.” It goes on to say that the school is providing grief counselors for students, staff and family members for “as long as we need them.” They also let staff and students go home early from school on that day.

Mountainair Schools Superintendent Dawn Apodaca said an emergency board meeting was held Nov. 18, and they decided the school would do a 10-day reset and close the campus from Nov. 19 to Nov. 28.

Ultimately they ended up extending the Thanksgiving break and returning students and staff to the classroom on Nov. 29. She said based on their absentee information, they have decided to keep Mountainair Schools open. “We analyze daily the attendance and the reasons for not being in school. MPS will continue to make the best informed decisions when it comes to the health and safety of our students and staff,” Apodaca said.

In Estancia, keeping enough staff on hand is an issue. On Dec. 3 they have 15 people scheduled to be out due to quarantines, Covid, appoints, coaching and care-giving—with only four substitute teachers available, said Superintendent Cindy Sims.

She said because they do not have enough coverage the school has no choice but to cancel classes.

She said the school has 16 secondary and 26 elementary “extra days” built into the school schedule. “We are way ahead of what is required by the state,” Sims said, adding, “I hate to cancel school, but cannot have school without teachers or subs. We are actively recruiting more subs.”

Torrance County currently has a total of 1,684 Covid cases. Seven more were reported for Torrance County on Dec. 1, while on Dec. 2, 16 new cases and two deaths were reported in Torrance County. According to the press release from the state’s Department of Health.

Torrance County’s administrative offices in Estancia remain open to the public by appointment, as employees there have gotten Covid or quarantined as a result of exposure.