OPINION: Schools should remain closed after break

Sasha van Leeuwen, Staff Writer

On December 21, 2021, Connecticut reported 6000 new cases of Coronavirus, with a 7-day average 2,494 cases. Although mild, the omicron variant is much more transmissible, accounting for 73 percent of new covid cases around the country.

All around the country, people are struggling to get tested before the holidays. They face long lines, unavailable appointments, and face long waits before getting their results back. At home tests and antigen tests are also completely sold out in stores.

These 2 factors make it much harder to return safely and effectively to school as students do not want to return if they are potentially positive, but one likely won’t know their results until days after their test is taken.

Many people are also traveling and spending time with family and friends over the holidays, which increases risk of exposure to the virus. With the way things are currently going, many students will end up having to quarantine which will likely result in some form of distance learning being brought back so that students at home can continue to keep up with their classes.

Many students at school still have not received their coronavirus booster shots yet either. Given the rage of omicron, people are urgent to get their shot which creates a shortage of appointments and vaccines. The booster shot increases coronavirus antibodies, which protects against all of the coronavirus variants floating around. However, the school has no vaccine mandate implemented for students, meaning that unvaccinated students (who are at a much higher risk of contracting coronavirus) are able to come to school and easily spread the virus to their vaccinated and unvaccinated peers.

In order to return safely, Stamford public schools needs a system where students can regularly and consistently test in order to catch cases early and contact trace before it’s too late. At many schools across the country, students are tested once or twice a week which reduces covid numbers and possible transmission of the virus. Until we have an effective system, coronavirus cases will remain hard to trace, creating a more dangerous school environment

Student safety should be the schools number one priority. Although no in-person learning means that students are unable to see their friends and teachers as often, staying inside will hopefully reduce our numbers to safe levels. The quicker we can stop the spread of coronavirus, the quicker we can safely return to school and a sense of normalcy.