The new COVID-19 Omicron variant has been spreading rapidly throughout the United States with no exception to the winter holidays as time for family, indoor activities, and break activities resulted in rising cases. Due to an increase in COVID-19 exposure, Novato Unified School District (NUSD) sent every student home with a rapid COVID-19 testing kit the day before break started. Each kit contains two tests, and students were instructed to take one of the two tests before they returned to school. A majority of students are protected from the dangers of COVID-19 as 85.8% of students have the vaccine as well as 97.5% of staff. Although this provides an extra layer of protection at school, students are most likely to get COVID-19 from outside of school activities.
“In class, COVID-19 cases are not a driver…It’s not classroom to classroom” Torres said.
The high number of student absences due to COVID-19 led many in the community to worry. Staff, students, and parents have unanswered questions regarding COVID-19’s continuous effect on our lives.
Students are concerned about the possibility of going back to online learning with the new Omicron variant taking hold. Assistant Principal, Shawna Torres, who facilitates all COVID-19 related items pertaining to San Marin says this is not likely to occur.
“The guideline changes that we have in place right now are key mitigation strategies to ensure that schools stay open for students.” Torres said.
The school aligns with Marin County Public Health, getting their guidance from the Center of Disease and Control (CDC). Currently, students are still required to wear masks inside, but masks are only recommended outside, especially if they are unable to stay socially distanced.