Amid The Rapid Surge In Omicron Cases, Texas Schools Are Commencing Classes

Many Texans’ holiday season has been thrown off by the rapid spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus, which has compelled multiple flights to be canceled.

This has also compelled educational institutions in the Northeast and Midwest to take measures such as restricting winter sports events and temporarily reverting to virtual learning, though this is not the case in Texas, where the state government has barred school districts from mandating students and teachers to be vaccinated as well as wear masks. For the time being, schools are mostly doing what they’ve always done to keep the virus from spreading.

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Credit: lighthouse.mq.edu.au

Perhaps while other states argue whether to enforce vaccinations for faculty and staff, or even revert to virtual learning, most of Texas’ nearly 1,200 school districts will welcome kids and employees back in the next week. In Texas, over one-fourth of COVID samples are positive, and hospitalization rates are up 1,613 patients from a week earlier. The coronavirus had hospitalized 4,917 Texans as of December 28.

COVID-19 New Cases Confirmed Within A 7-day Interval

There are over 4 million confirmed cases as of January 5. The average number of cases recorded over the last seven days reveals how the scenario has changed with time by de-emphasizing daily swings. On weekends, when laboratories are less likely to report new information to the state, the number of new cases recorded decreases.

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, there were 220 Texans under the age of 18 hospitalized for COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Since Christmas, the number has steadily risen. In early September, Texas had the largest number of people under 18 hospitalized for COVID-19, with 345.

The omicron variant is becoming increasingly popular in the United States. It has so far proven to be less severe and lethal than the previous delta form. On the other hand, the federal government recommends that all children aged five and up receive the vaccine.

Positive cases among children at Cook Children’s Health Care System in Tarrant County have risen substantially since December 21, rising from 5.7 percent to 22.1 percent.

“We are seeing upwards of 400 positive COVID-19 cases among children per day,” Dr. Mary Suzanne Whitworth said in a statement. “This is similar to where we were in early September when delta was spreading rapidly in our area.”

Education officials have mainly advocated for a return to regular in-person instruction, albeit with safeguards despite these figures.
The state’s largest school district, Houston Independent School District, announced Wednesday to keep its mask mandate and begin offering free COVID-19 screening to students and faculty.

“We are looking forward to adding this layer of protection to our COVID-19 mitigation strategies,” House said in a statement. “We remain committed to keeping our students and staff safe and working toward implementing strategies that can help us continue offering safe and sustainable in-person instruction.”

Covid Protocols In Austin Schools

In Austin, the school system will continue to mandate masks on campus and provide testing and vaccination clinics for pupils aged five and up.

District managers wrote to Austin parents in an email stating they were keeping schools open because they were convinced that mitigation methods were effective and vaccinations were now readily accessible.

Covid Protocols In San Antonio Schools

Northside ISD in San Antonio will stick to the COVID-19 standards it set earlier this year, including enabling nurses to test children and implementing quarantine rules for those who test positive.

Unless local or state officials tell them otherwise, Fort Worth ISD plans to open as usual. Throughout the next week, the district will reinforce its pandemic precautions, such as keeping masks and sanitizer accessible on all institutions. The district also conducts a thorough cleaning of its facilities, disinfecting locations that children frequently contact, such as water fountains, tables, door handles, and classrooms.