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Is the Omicron Variant a Threat to Rialto?

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 is much more contagious than the normal strain of COVID-19, even more contagious than the delta variant. With such a contagious variant of COVID-19 will schools have to be shut down?

As public schools come back from winter breaks, a rising number of students and staff are not returning due to testing positive for COVID-19. In Florida’s Miami Dade County, ten percent of instructional staff along with 2,100 employees missed school on Monday, January 3rd. In cities like Milwaukee, Newark, and Detroit, distance-learning or cancelation of schools has already been implemented.

According to Mayo Clinic, 18% of all national COVID tests are coming back positive. So how big of a threat is Omicron to Rialto High School and the Rialto Unified School District?

On behalf of Superintendent Dr. Cuauhtemoc Avila, Lead Innovation Agent, Patricia Chavez said, “The Rialto Unified School District (RUSD) is concerned for the wellbeing of the RUSD education community since the pandemic began in 2020. The Omicron Variant adds an additional layer of complexity and concern.” Chavez continues to say that the Rialto Unified School District is much better prepared if there is a spike in COVID cases than they were in March 2020.

Currently, there is a plan in place in case schools do have to shut down. “The District worked tirelessly to develop a comprehensive contingency plan in the event of school closure,” says Chavez.

Chavez said, “Rialto families should not live in fear but rather be prepared in case our local health data increases to an unsafe rate of transmission.”

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 will only pose a threat to the Rialto Unified School District if cases skyrocket. Students, parents, and staff should continue to wear the proper masks, socially distance, and wash their hands regularly to avoid spreading the virus and prevent schools from closing in-person learning.

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