Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Maricopa Wells Middle School has now joined Maricopa High School in shutting down campus for the remainder of the semester. It is the second closure for the school related to COVID-19.

Maricopa Unified School District announced MWMS would shift to all-online learning starting Wednesday and continue through Dec. 18. Winter Break begins Dec. 21, so the students will not be back to in-person learning until Jan. 5 at the earliest.

The decision came after administrators met in virtual conference with Pinal County Health Department to discuss the number of reported cases of COVID-19 and the number of students and teachers in quarantine because of exposure.

District spokesperson Mishell Terry said the situation at MWMS was similar to that at MHS, where more than 300 people are in quarantine.

“Things are just happening by the hour,” she said.

Maricopa ZIP codes are considered to be in “community spread” mode with coronavirus. ZIP code 85138 had an additional 31 cases reported since yesterday, and ZIP code 85139 added 22 overnight. Countywide, there were 425 new cases in the past day.

During distance learning, MWMS will have Learning Labs available in the cafeteria each school day from 9:10 a.m. to 4:10 p.m. beginning Thursday. The school will also distribute grab-and-go meals to be picked up near the cafeteria from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.