ASK AT: How should AT confront the Omicron surge?

As the Omicron variant surges across the United States, many schools have made the decision to continue e-learning. While this is upsetting to many, some people are in favor of a return to remote learning. 

This variant is much more transmissible than the other variants, compromising the ability to safely attend school in person. This is evident when presented with the fact that the U.S. set a record on Jan. 3 for having over a million positive COVID cases in one day. 

As this is a topic that is circulating around many schools, AT students were asked to contribute their opinions on whether or not AT should go back to e-learning. 

“I think with the new Omicron variant, there is some caution that should be taken. I think the district should keep an eye on it for now, depending on how severe the cases spread throughout the school. I don’t think the school should close just yet. As long as people wear their masks properly and many others get vaccinated, the number of cases should go down. I truly don’t think we should move to virtual until things get severe.” – Raul Huerta 

“I think schools should shut down due to the new Omicron variant. So many staff members and students have already been out of school for weeks due to the new variant. If we shut down and quarantine for a couple of weeks or a month, hopefully, most of our staff and students will feel better and safer coming back to school after everyone gets better.” – Julia Rusiecki

“I think schools should definitely shut down. Now that there is a new variant that is rampant, mask protocols are even more enforced, and going all day at school being afraid of getting sick or it being harder to wear a mask is just not it. It is a perfect time to take a break from classes anyways since the snow is sticking to the ground and it is harder to get to school.” – Hannah Melone 

“I do think schools should shut down. I am hoping that schools would shut down sometime after February 5th because I really want the school musical I am in to go perfect, which I know is selfish of me but I do think shut down is the best option.” – Stephanie Ortiz 

“Yeah, I do. We have more cases now than when we initially shut down. Honestly, I think it would be safer for everyone’s health if we go online, even if it is just for a short amount of time. So many students and staff are already missing that we cannot afford more people getting sick.” – Jessie Pociecha 

“Unfortunately, I think that’s the only option. This variant spreads extremely fast, leaving the amount of COVID cases higher than they have ever been before. If the school was actually doing something to enforce the mask mandate or social distancing, maybe we wouldn’t have to shut down but that is not the case. In my opinion, the school isn’t doing anything when it comes to having a COVID protocol at all. I think we need to go back online for a bit because of this.” – Mia Saldana

“Even though administrators are trying to keep schools open, it may not be a possibility. Not all students or teachers wear their masks correctly and everyone is at risk to get it. Cases are continuing to rise and there are less and less people in the building. Many teachers are gone and classes are much smaller than before break. There may be no other option to do school online if cases do not go down.” – Sofia Angiulo

“Unless the students and teachers start taking proper precautions to deflect and keep this school as clear as it can be of any and all variants, then I believe it should be shut down. Sure, I hated online lessons but I was fine knowing that I wouldn’t be at risk of being in contact with any variants.” – Daisy Puebla

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