January 28, 2023

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COVID-19 cases ease at local high schools, rise slightly at elementary schools | News

7 min read

Menlo Park middle schooler Isaac Chen woke up to a sore throat on Jan. 7. The 12-12 months-outdated took a speedy COVID-19 check and to his surprise, soon after a year and half of destructive success, he been given his to start with beneficial.

Isaac, a seventh grader at Hillview Center College, is a single of the 128 learners and personnel associates in the Menlo Park Town University District who caught the virus through the initially two weeks back from winter season break.

Local university districts began to see an inflow of situations as college students returned to campuses the first week of January, as the really contagious omicron variant surges. Despite the fact that figures are declining at nearby superior colleges, elementary university districts actually saw an maximize in situations during the next week again at school.

Isaac returned to college on Tuesday. He’s not guaranteed how he contracted the virus, but he credits his vaccination for his delicate indications a cough largely, which only lasted about 3 or 4 days. He filled his time isolated in his bedroom actively playing online video games and carrying out research. He wore a mask all around the house aside from when he ate foods (separately from the relaxation of his household).

Isaac’s mom, Francesca Segrè, who is a Menlo Park district board member, mentioned quarantining as a family members was inconvenient and a tiny lonely, but it wasn’t traumatic.

“It was not horrifying on any degree he normally experienced energy and was always in great spirits,” she said “I hope that anyone who receives omicron gets gentle signs and symptoms. I considered this might occur and it occurred. It wasn’t as bad as I considered it would be.”

The Sequoia Union Higher College District, which has about 11,000 pupils and team, observed a decrease in COVID-19 circumstances its second 7 days back again at college. There were being 409 the 7 days of Jan. 10, in contrast to 710 instances through the 7 days of Jan. 3. Some 1,119 of the 1,352 cases for the duration of this faculty 12 months have occurred because the winter semester began.

The 2,226-college student Menlo-Atherton High School in Atherton saw 103 scenarios (99 ended up learners) the week of Jan. 10, as opposed to 203 instances the very first week again from crack. At the 1,752-student Woodside High College, 74 situations previous 7 days (67 ended up college students), as opposed to 172 the 1st week back again. At TIDE Academy, which has 196 learners, there were just four conditions, all among the college students, the 7 days of Jan. 10. There have been 19 (16 were being pupils) the first week back from break at TIDE.

Superintendent Darnise Williams asked parents and local community members to stage up to fill in for absent workers associates.

“Never ever have educators been confronted with a crisis of this magnitude for the duration of our life span,” Williams explained in a statement to The Almanac last 7 days. “As our district proceeds becoming stretched, we are now at a level where we certainly need all palms on deck, and are asking moms and dads, in which they can, to volunteer and lover with us by way of this disaster.”

Previous 7 days, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an govt get loosening state polices all over the selecting of substitute teachers as districts grapple with staffing shortages, with academics isolating at residence with the virus.

By way of March 31, the buy lets for short term certificates to be issued to substitute teachers who do not have training credentials. The order also extends the size of time substitute instructors can be assigned to a course to 120 days and makes it possible for additional flexibility for retired teachers to function as substitutes.

The district has about 100 substitute lecturers, down from 110 at the get started of the college calendar year, according to Todd Beal, who recently grew to become assistant superintendent of human means. He observed lecturers who retired from the district will not want to sub as much suitable now to safeguard on their own from the coronavirus. The district has posted work openings on EdJoin and is looking at putting up openings on Fb or Twitter.

The Ravenswood Metropolis Faculty District observed a jump in instances its second week again. The week of Jan. 3, there were 87 cases. The district described attendance was down to 58% at the stop of last week, compared to its regular every day attendance of 92-93%. That exact same week, there ended up 120 bacterial infections claimed to the district. The vast majority of the instances (41) were being at Ravenswood Middle Faculty.

In the Menlo Park district, there ended up 40 instances the 1st week again to school and 88 the pursuing 7 days.

In the earlier thirty day period or two, the district has obtained inquiries for substituting from 36 parents and community members, mentioned Parke Treadway, the district’s public information and facts officer in an electronic mail. Those fascinated in subbing or filling in other roles can make contact with [email protected]

There have been 93 situations in the Las Lomitas Elementary Faculty District due to the fact pupils returned from winter season break.

There had been 26 cases the 1st week back again in the Portola Valley College District. Its second 7 days right after winter season crack, it observed just 12 situations. So much this 7 days, there have been 12 situations documented to the district.

The Woodside Elementary Faculty District saw 6 scenarios its first 7 days back again and 17 the week of Jan. 10. The district is in “dire have to have of a trainer substitute,” according to a Jan. 17 district publication. Dad and mom interested in currently being a aspect-time substitute instructor can indication up at woodsideschool.us.

Academics and dad and mom show up to be adapting to the surge.

Jacqui Cebrian, a Menlo-Atherton Large College dad or mum and co-president of the school’s PTA, explained so much university has felt risk-free for her daughter, a senior. Cebrian, who teaches reading at Oak Knoll College in Menlo Park, canceled designs for a picnic at Mt. Diablo to rejoice her mother’s birthday previous weekend due to the fact she and her daughter are “swimming in a sea of COVID day-to-day” at faculty and really don’t want to most likely expose her mom.

Cebrian’s daughter has felt safe and sound at university (“she’s not nervous, so I’m not nervous,” Cebrian said) and isn’t going to see distance learning as a excellent selection.

“Other than not possessing absences, it has not seriously felt any distinct (given that the omicron surge started) besides for we’re all conversing about it a large amount,” she stated.

Cebrian noted that it feels a tiny little bit like it did in March of 2020, but she feels safer since persons are vaccinated in opposition to the virus and putting on masks and not hanging out with people who are unvaccinated. She’s modified her families’ things to do to restrict her COVID-19 publicity to assistance maintain educational institutions open.

“The strategy that we just have this very last large hurdle, and it’s possible this will be smoother before long, this can help,” she explained. “Sometimes you have to give men and women hope.”

An M-A instructor, who requested not to be named for dread of retribution, said that the to start with week back to faculty was “seriously startling,” but the university has been supportive of instructors, handing out masks and building guaranteed airflow is excellent in lecture rooms.

“We’re just frustrated extra than something,” the trainer reported. “We’re in calendar year two of this pandemic, why are we reacting? Why are not we currently being far more proactive?”

Their initially working day back again at faculty, just about a 3rd of their pupils had been absent from their very first interval class (tests beneficial, obtaining ill family members members and delayed flights ended up some of the good reasons for absences). The trainer stated their classes have started to fill up once more.

The Menlo Park district’s governing board voted final 7 days to demand students to don a clinical masks, these types of as 3-ply surgical, KN95 or KF94 or N95 in gentle of investigate suggesting that a person of the greatest protections against the latest surge is masks that deliver proper suit and filtration.

Cloth masks may possibly be applied but only in addition to the larger high quality masks cloth masks worn on their very own are prohibited. The board will reevaluate this steerage at a Feb. 10 assembly. Colleges have medical masks in children’s dimensions for students who fail to remember them, damage them or do not have obtain to their own.

Prior to crack, Superintendent Erik Burmeister was geared up to propose the removal of the district’s out of doors mask mandate, but then the omicron surge hit.

The Ravenswood district administered just about 2,000 assessments final week, according to a team report prepared for a Jan. 20 governing board conference. Schools are also arranging for learners to take in lunch outdoors as substantially as achievable. The county is providing grownup sizing KN95 masks for all team, and the district has ordered little one-sized KN95 masks, which should be shipped by early to mid February.

Current point out rules will not allow for districts to shut a school and give length discovering due to the fact of staffing shortages, claimed Bonnie Hansen, Sequoia district’s assistant superintendent of educational providers during a board conference final week.

A district need to program to offer you unbiased research alternatives and display that they have fatigued all staffing selections by consulting their county office environment of instruction and the point out, said the California Department of Education and learning web page.

Non-public educational institutions have more versatility. Menlo University in Atherton, for example, went remote its 1st week again to lower transmission of the virus on campus.

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