Over 300 positive covid cases reported on campus

As individuals return to campus for the start of the spring semester, recent reports of the numbers of positive covid-19 cases among students and staff members serve as explanation for the significant amount of noted absences.

The+new+Omnicron+variant+has+brought+a+surge+in+cases%2C+affecting+even+people+with+vaccines.+

CREDIT: COTTON BRO | PEXELS

The new Omnicron variant has brought a surge in cases, affecting even people with vaccines.

What is happening | The Los Angeles Unified School District Covid-19 School Report Card, which presents informative daily updates on the school’s current status of covid-19 testing results for students and staff involved in in-person instruction, reports 374 positive cases among students and staff as of Jan. 15.

The website also reveals an 11.12 percent positive test rate among students and staff. However, according to the LAUSD Covid-19 School Report Card, zero of the reported positive cases were a result of school-based transmission. This information has led many individuals to theorize that this observed surge in positive cases is primarily due to the holidays which took place over winter break, in addition to the presence of the new highly transmissible covid-19 omicron variant.

“Covid cases are rising across the city and it can very well be due to the holidays,”Assistant Principal Michelle Brownridge Keller said. “Many people took the opportunity to meet with family and get together with their loved ones, and with the omicron virus being so much more contagious, it very well may have been the cause of the rise of what we see happening at our school.”

Why does it matter | With a sizable number of students absent and a notable shortage of teachers, Assistant Principal Keller has deduced that this considerably high number of cases will significantly impact the beginning of the spring semester.

“It will disrupt the flow of instruction,” she said. “However, everybody is chipping in to help out whether it’s checking in kids at the gate, covering classes for teachers that are out, or providing information to students who are out and their parents. It’s an all-hands-on-deck type of situation where everybody is doing what they can do.”

Although infected students and staff are desperate to come back to campus, Assistant Principal Keller states that she cannot predict when the majority of individuals will be able to return.

“From what I understand, many of our cases are not as severe as when covid first started,” she said.

All I can say is that hopefully most people will be able to return within a maximum of ten days if they are asymptomatic and have a negative antigen test.”

— Assistant Principal Keller

Who does this apply to | The reported surge in positive covid-19 cases has affected all students and staff, whether it be directly or indirectly, as it has interrupted and substantially influenced the first week of instruction.

Symptoms of covid-19 include a fever, chills, a new cough, difficulty breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, a stuffy or runny nose, a new loss of smell or taste, a sore throat, body aches and a headache. If one experiences these symptoms, they are advised to stay home and isolate themselves until ten days have passed with drastically improved or nonexistent symptoms or until they have obtained proof of a negative covid-19 test result.

Individuals who test positive for covid-19 and experience symptoms are required to stay home and isolate themselves until at least five days have passed, their symptoms have drastically improved or are nonexistent and they have obtained proof of a negative covid-19 rapid antigen test result after these five days.

Individuals who test positive for covid-19 and do not experience symptoms are also required to stay home and isolate themselves until at least five days have passed and they have obtained proof of a negative covid-19 rapid antigen test result after these five days.

After returning to school, students and staff members who test positive for covid-19 will not be required to participate in regular PCR testing for up to 90 days after their initial positive test result. 

“The vaccine is the best way now to help students and staff combat this virus and help us to stay safe,” Assistant Principal Keller said. “I encourage everyone to get vaccinated, and if they already have then to get the booster.”