The new covid variant – Omicron, which was first found in South Africa has quickly made its way to the US and has affected more than 40 states. This new variant is highly transmissible as compared to delta though the death rate is lower.
Latest Updates: Schools To Be Functional During Omicron Surge?
Many of the colleges which were opened a few months ago shut down quickly for winter break as many of the students started getting positive due to this new variant. Hospitals are still seeing a large number of cases and the ICUs are getting full during this winter surge.
Parents are now worried if the schools would be a safe place for their kids. School authorities have stated that as of now they will be continuing the in-person teaching and no decision has been made as to switch back to online learning platforms. It has been stated by both teachers and students that in-person learning is much better as students are able to grasp the concepts much better.
Schools have now been closed for the Christmas break and are set to reopen in January. School authorities have assured the parents that all the school staff has been fully vaccinated with booster shots and the classroom and all the areas would be sanitized every day after school hours so that kids can come back to a safe environment.
One of the schools from Maryland – Prince George County school stated that they will be switching back to remote learning so as to keep everyone safe, however, 99% of the schools in the US are still sticking to in-person teaching techniques.
President Joe Biden stated that last year things were different as we did not have the resources to keep the virus away, however times have changed and now vaccines are available which can help both kids and the teachers against the vaccine. Thus, he urged school authorities and parents to keep going with in-person learning methods.
Daniel Domenech, who is the director of the American Association of School Administrators, said that till last month more than 98% of children were attending the schools and now we are again on the verge of shutting it down. It has become hard for the schools to keep the bus drivers and cleaning staff as many people are falling sick due to Omicron and this has led to a shortage of staff all over the country. School authorities have stated that if enough staff and teachers get sick then they won’t be able to run in-person learning and would have to switch back to remote learning.
As per reports from CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), around 7.4 million kids have been infected with the covid since it began which makes up to 17% of all the total covid infections in the country. Recently the numbers are increasing at an alarming rate as Omicron is spreading quite fast.
When asked to parents about sending their kids they stated that they would want the in-person learning method as this helps the kids to interact with their friends and also helps in picking up many of the social skills which they won’t be able to do while sitting at home. Private schools have stated that they will try to keep in-person teaching methods for the time; however public schools are seeing way more cases.
CDC states that schools can still perform well even during such times if proper protocols are followed. Schools have already conducted many seminars wherein they have mentioned the importance of getting vaccinated and how social distancing can help them as well. Many of the kids who are attending the schools have now taken at least one dose of the vaccine giving them some level of protection as compared to others.