Omicron variant creates uncertain future for schools

Recently, the new Omicron strain of the Coronavirus is spreading at an alarming rate due to holiday season traveling; this is causing many schools and colleges to consider and commence the closings of their institutions for the time being. 

Some have been temporarily delaying their reopenings after break and others are moving to a completely virtual semester. Actually, more than 2,000 schools closed for at least one day in wake of these more recent COVID-19 concerns, and there are 21 states with at least one school district closed or moving to remote learning for the week.

This leads other school districts around the country to consider what option would be best for their students, parents and teachers, including district one. As of now, there have been no considerations for closing schools in our district due to the surge of the Omicron variant because our cases aren’t as prominent as in the Northeast and Midwest. 

That being said, it could still be possible for a closing to happen if the cases in our district rise. Los Angeles Schools decided to close when positive coronavirus cases surged to around 250,000 cases in their county. Some North Jersey school districts are switching to virtual learning as hospital cases rise after the winter break. Hospitalizations in New Jersey increased from 1,029 and 4,715 in a single month. 

In Spartanburg County, we have 1,655 new cases as of January 4th, 2022. This seems to be one of the biggest peaks in cases that we’ve had, similar to the 1,285 new cases in September and the 1,290 new cases in February of 2021. But throughout that time our schools were still open. So unless there’s a larger change in positive cases, there is a low possibility of school closures in our district or South Carolina. 

It seems to be more important for places like Los Angeles schools to close because they serve such a large number of students; 700,000 compared to 5,200 in Spartanburg. With the Omicron variant being such a contagious variant compared to Delta, it could be more dangerous for larger school districts to be open, making it harder to control the spread if a few people get infected. 

With that being said, it’s still not an impossible outcome for District One to end up closing and going virtual again. It’s all up to the considerations of the school district to decide whether they want to close our schools or not.