Many teens are going out and enjoying their Christmas break by attending all the festive activities that are out here for us to do. However, there has been a huge spike in the COVID cases. According to the CDC, the Omicron variant is more likely to spread twice as quickly as the other COVID variants and it’s doing just that. With that being said, it is even more important to stay double masked and very careful of who you are around.
Chalkbeat Chicago states that there has been a 79 percent spike in virus cases since the beginning of winter break, and we still have to get through the cold months of the new year! I can admit that the recent Big Jam concert I attended was a super spreader, because many people did not have masks on. We were so immersed into the wonderful performances that were taking place that masking up just wasn’t a priority.
Right now, it feels like someone sprayed the Omicron variant all over the city of Chicago. I have not seen so many people, including myself, test positive for COVID–just days before Christmas too! Since I tested positive, Christmas was pretty weird. Not only was it weird, it opened my eyes to being more cautious due to this new variant. I haven’t caught COVID in two years, but on Christmas day I got the dreadful news. What a wonderful Christmas present.
With all this being said, it has been noted that in-person schooling will still resume on January 3rd following winter break. We know in most schools that no one abides by the safety protocols that are put in place, which will make schools a real super spreader for this deadly virus. Jayla Powell, a freshman at Southern University, believes that with this spike taking place, now is not the time to be in the actual classroom. “In-person learning should be limited to stop the spread of the virus, and to be considerate of the health of the students and staff,” says Powell.
This is totally understandable. It has been viewed on every social media platform, especially TikTok, that this virus is hitting families everywhere. Let’s not forget that this thing is deadly, and many families have high risk members who can’t afford to catch the Omicron variant, even if it is believed by some to be somewhat milder.
Spencer Ellis, a senior from Lindblom High School, has a different viewpoint on resuming in-person learning. “In-person learning should resume after winter break, [as long as] everyone is providing a negative COVID test to their school.” With this uncontrollable virus, this verification procedure will become very chaotic due to the fact that the COVID testing sites will be filled with high school and college youth coming to get tested. If this is going to be a requirement, then people need to be informed on this as soon as possible. Currently, many testing sites are already backed up and most sites have no availability until after the New Year. In my opinion, in-person learning should be postponed, and all students should go back to E-learning until the spike decreases.
What are your thoughts about going back into the classrooms after the winter break? Let us know with an emoji below. Don’t forget to be careful out here. Mask up, wash your heads, practice social distancing and go get vaxed or get your booster.
By Dasia Garner, Senior, Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep