In favor of return to remote learning



It is best to have our fellow classmates learning at home to help prevent the spread of the highly-contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons License)

School shutdowns may be inevitable with COVID-19 cases on the rise. 

Currently, the Omicron variant is becoming more known with cases rising and it is described as much more deadly than any other variant due to its mutations and reinfection rates. The nation should consider going back into online learning. It would be dangerous to allow students around staff knowing the Omicron variant is much more infectious than the Delta variant. Scientists have predicted increased cases of infection during the winter months.

To contain the spread of COVID-19 and keep people safe schools need to go back to online learning. During Christmas break, people will be traveling and spending time with their loved ones indoors. As soon as the break is over school officials should take precautions for staff and students to stay healthy. 

The Omicron variant is the ruling COVID-19 strain in the United States. The recent variant is responsible for 73% of sequenced cases. Currently, Omicron is spreading rapidly, causing stress amongst healthcare workers. Throughout the U.S. people are now scrambling to get the vaccine, while others are unfazed by warnings. making it all the more dangerous to spread. President Joe Biden issued “a stark warning of what the winter will look like” for unvaccinated Americans. 

As of now, 72.1% of the overall population in the U.S. has been vaccinated. Unvaccinated Americans are at a higher risk of death, illness, and infection. “We have so many people in this country who are eligible to be vaccinated who have not yet been vaccinated,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci about the problem Americans are currently facing. 

COVID-19 has affected the world tremendously with the development of many new variants. The danger of increasing cases of COVID-19 during the cold winter months, when people spend more time indoors, can be expected. “But the one thing that we know from now, almost two years experience with this virus is that it is very unpredictable,” says Fauci. 

There have been Over 646 school closings related to COVID-19, up from 356 the week before winter break, according to Burbio. States such as Michigan, Maine, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Ohio are taking a sudden shift into virtual learning with a select number of schools. “This is a massive in-school transmission rate far exceeding anything we’ve seen thus far,” Maine administrators stated.

In Uniondale, on New York’s Long Island, the community transitioned its high school to remote starting Dec. 17 after cases caused staff shortages. “The increased positivity rates have significantly challenged the ability to do so, causing anxiety among many school communities and disruption,” Chief Executive Officer Monica Golson mentioned in a note to parents. 

Universities and colleges such as Harvard and Stanford have stated they will begin the spring of 2022 semester with online learning for most students. President Biden predicted this winter to be full of “severe illness and death.” Many schools, a considerable number of universities, and businesses are shutting down due to the COVID-19 Omicron variant and its dangerous effects on society. To contain the spread of COVID-19 it would be most necessary to shut down our schools for the health of staff and students. 

 Schools have shut down before the Christmas break to try and contain the spread of COVID-19. Education boards across the U.S. are considering remote learning when the winter break is over.

Schools as of now are very vulnerable places for children since vaccination rates are low. Currently, eighteen percent of kids ages five to eleven have at least one shot as do sixty-one percent of teens aged from twelve to seventeen. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona recommended school districts “act with urgency” to use federal aid to halt the impact of the workforce shortages. 

Education boards have to consider a shutdown especially returning from break where most people would come back from traveling. Recently the St. Louis Park Public Schools in suburban Minneapolis shut down amid staff fatigue including the Omicron wave causing many COVID-19 related infections. “The overall feeling is one of exhaustion,” Superintendent Astein Osei told the school board

Other schools and families are barely making it to the finish line with infections being spread throughout the school and loved ones. “The schools want to stay open. But it’s a logistical nightmare. Depending on the infection rate in communities, it’s going to be hard to do that.” According to Dan Domenech, executive of the School Superintendents Association, many schools, high schools, and universities are closing all at once and are considering staying closed even when Christmas break is over. 

The Omicron variant is slowly expanding and schools are panicking to get the staff shortage and spread under control. It is best to look towards the future of whether our school districts should stay closed entirely especially coming out of the break to ensure the safety of the people who are not yet vaccinated.