At the end of the fall, we all began to make predictions on what winter and the flu season would look like with COVID still hanging around. My own predictions were a bit bleak, and it’s even more saddening to see my predictions come true. I was right in thinking that COVID cases would rise in big numbers, mainly due to the new variant, winter break gatherings, and the indoor months.
Over winter break, it seemed like everybody I knew was getting COVID, myself included. This was a really odd and concerning thing to see, considering during the first year and a half of this pandemic I only personally knew maybe one person who had gotten COVID.
According to the World Health Organization, “Omicron cases are doubling every 1.5 to 3 days with documented spread. And in the US, it’s expected to become the dominant strain “in the coming weeks.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, says, “It’s going to be a tough few weeks to months as we get deeper into winter.”
So with knowing all of this information, naturally some questions and concerns have been raised about students going back to in-person school after break. So far, for a few days straight, the Chicago school system has announced that students should not come into schools.
Lori Lightfoot–Mayor of Chicago–has some opposing opinions on this topic with most of the Chicago Teacher’s Union. She has been in a war of words this week with the union, making it incredibly clear that she believes students should be in classrooms despite the rising number of cases and the outnumbering votes that students should be remote.
Lightfoot has even gone so far as saying that the Teachers Union is “making us a laughing-stock across the whole country.” She also implied that she will take legal action against what she refers to as the union’s “Illegal strike.”
As the people who will be affected the most by this, I and my peers obviously have our own varying opinions on what Lightfoot and the teachers union are doing.
“I think that Lori Lightfoot is being stubborn when it comes to making schools go back in person,” said Diona Groce, a junior at Lincoln High School. “I feel like the teachers are valid for wanting to go remote because COVID cases are going up rapidly.”
Danielle Brewer, a junior, from Leo High School, is on the same side as Groce. “The mayor is being stubborn and unsafe. She has to see the cases, so why is she trying to send people back to schools? What sense does it make for her to tell us not to go out over the holidays, but then send millions of kids back into schools with each other?”
At this point, there’s no way of knowing who will win this battle, Lightfoot for in person, or the union for remote. But what we do know is that COVID cases are rising rapidly, and we need to be able to keep ourselves and others safe.
If there’s a way for us to do that with thousands of people in one building, then I hope Lightfoot can let us know.
By Kendal Amos, Junior at chiarts