Newark Superintendent Roger León wrote in a notice to parents before the break, “Change is the only thing in this fight.” He announced Thursday that students would be learning remotely for at least the first two weeks of the new year. The virus continues, León said, “to be a brutal, relentless and ruthless virus, feeding its ugly head at the inopportune times.”
With coronavirus illnesses on the rise, some students will find it difficult to return to school after the winter break. Some people want to increase virus testing among students and staff. Educators expect a few school districts to switch to distant learning for a limited time. All of this emphasizes the importance of remaining adaptable.
During the pandemic, schools and leaders were able to see the devastating consequences on teachers and kids due to widespread isolation. As a result, they’re working hard to ensure that the current increase is distributed relatively without having to shut down for an extended period.
However, pressure from parents and teachers’ unions has heightened the urgency around safety measures, as high levels of Omicron will drive children to the hospital in record numbers.
Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, which represents educators in New York City, is debating whether to reopen on Monday.
He said, “We are getting closer to a safe reopening of schools next week. But we’re not there yet.”
“It’s really scary because you worry about the domino effect, too,” Rebecca Caldwell, an Illinois resident, said. Her 17-year-old and 10-year-old kids have witnessed sick peers, and each has recently had a battery of nerve-wracking COVID-19 testing as part of a “tested” policy to stay.
In Chicago, the nation’s third-largest school district, officials announced the purchase of 100,000 laptops over the holidays if they need to distance study in January. In addition, the Chicago Teachers Association has proposed halting in-person learning unless new safety measures include negative COVID tests for returning students.
As LA County public and private schools returned to campus on Wednesday, health officials announced a tightening of testing and masking requirements for all employees and students.
The district health department has compelled teachers to wear medical masks in class and pupils and staff to wear masks outdoors in crowded locations due to the unexpected increase of the Omicron variety.
“The goal remains to keep all schools open for in-person learning five days a week throughout the 2021-22 school year and beyond,” said U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona in a letter to schools marking the start of the second half of the school year. He claimed that 99% of schools opened in person in December, compared to 46% in January last year.
Because of the city’s high infection rate, Detroit Superintendent Nikolai Vitti on Friday extended the holiday vacation for roughly 50,000 pupils until at least Jan. 5, urging them to take a flu shot through the district. Employees must take tests.
“Like many other school districts, we have seen a consistent trend, after each of our school breaks, both Thanksgiving and our fall break in early November, there has been a sharp increase in our student/staff population of COVID cases,” said Ronald Taylor, superintendent of the South Orange-Maplewood School District in New Jersey.
Some school districts are considering making vaccines a requirement for students. For example, the Jan. 10 deadline for kids 12 years and older in the Los Angeles school system, which was the first to announce the required COVID-19 vaccine for pupils, has been postponed until the fall of 2022.
According to scientists, the Omicron variant of COVID spreads faster than other coronavirus strains, including delta, and is anticipated to become common in the United States as early as 2022.