Omicron Variant Forces Schools to Change Protocols

Local universities and schools struggle with how to approach the surge in Omicron positive COVID-19 tests.


Kabria Earp

Amid the new surge of positive chases, many students and faculty have opted to continue wearing face coverings to school.

By Brenna Buchanan, Co-Editor in Chief

As students return to school for the start of the spring semester, the administration is noticing a large uprise in the amount of positive COVID-19 tests. The nationwide Covid test shortage has caused schools to rethink their in-person protocols.

According to The Week, the United States reported COVID-19 cases have tripled over the first few weeks of the new year. The numbers have reached an average of 480,000 new infections. Hospitals’ admission rates have increased to an average of 14,800 incoming patients a day.

Many universities and local schools have changed return dates and COVID-19 protocols amid the alarming rising numbers of positive tests.

According to Austin American-Statesman, the University of Texas administration has now asked faculty to convert their lessons to online for the first two weeks of the upcoming spring 2022 semester. The administration hopes that students will be able to return to in-person classes after the surge subsides.

Many other Texas universities including Texas State University, St. Mary’s University, and Huston-Tillotson University have switched to online learning or postponed the start of the spring semester.
Another problem schools are facing is the limited supply of testing appointments and at-home testing kits.

Students who are exposed to the virus or suspect that they may be positive are encouraged to quarantine and take a COVID-19 test. The results of these tests will tell whether the student will be allowed to return to school or have to convert to virtual learning while quarantining.

According to Eyewitness News, many schools are struggling with a shortage of bus drivers. School officials have stated the shortage is being caused by the increase in positive cases and limited testing abilities.

Bus drivers are not the only shortages causing problems for schools. Many schools have found that there are also many teacher, substitute, and custodial employee shortages.

Despite these shortages and additional COVID-19 related problems, many schools are working hard to keep students in school for the upcoming spring semester.