Omicron opens up outlandish operations at CHS


Omicron has had an incredible impact on a global scale––but how has this surge in cases affected life on the high school level? Within the past two weeks, CHS has reported over 210 COVID-19 cases on campus, with over 35 new COVID cases reported in one single day. Due to this surge of COVID-19 cases, what will happen to CHS in the future––is there a possibility of the school getting shut down and students returning to online? Students across the board have been avidly discussing these questions, and while much is left up in the air, some students are demanding a return to online learning, while others anticipate no change.
On November 24th, 2021, a new variant of SARS-CoV-2 was reported to the World Health Organization. Less than a month later on December 1st, the first Omicron case in the US was reported. In Los Angeles County, the increase of the cases from December to January consisted of an influx of 461,978 new cases which averaged the total number of cases currently in LA County to be 2.1 million. With these numbers, it comes as no surprise to see that the US currently has the biggest number of COVID cases in the world. Many schools around the state and country alike have begun to close down for some time because of the increasing rates of Omicron cases. However, currently CHS remains open, but the unanswered question remains: will the school shut down?
At CHS, the number of cases has had a tremendous impact on classroom life. In the course of just two weeks, many teachers and students have been sick from contact stemming from the classroom, with many left quarantined due to COVID-19 or COVID-19 related absences. Kyle Chen is currently a sophomore at CHS and is one out of the many students who have been impacted by the new variant due to being COVID-traced several times in a week
“Currently the district and school do not seem to be concerned about shutting down to minimize the cases, but in the future if this situation continues, they may be forced to shut down the school,” said Chen. “The school has been affected to the point that classes are barely functioning. Some classes have half of their students missing, and for most classes, there are still no online courses being held for the absent students.”
With substitute teacher shortages, the school is struggling to provide substitutes for each class that has a teacher out. CHS places subs that lack proper credentials in the specific subject area in order to fill the vacancies.
“We don’t have enough personnel and it’s very hard because we can’t hire personnel overnight,” Dr. O’Connor said. “We could always use more and it is not a money issue, it’s not a fiscal issue, rather its an issue of finding employees.”
Copious amounts of both students and teachers at CHS within the last couple of weeks have received close contact notice emails. Close contact emails encourage students who have had symptoms to quarantine at home for ten consecutive days with no contact of others. Students must take two FDA approved PCR tests if they choose to not go into quarantine; however, they must quarantine when not at school and are unable to go to sports clubs, social events, or other activities outside of the regular school hours. If both tests are negative and the exposed student continues to have no symptoms, then the quarantine ends on day six. However, students with no symptoms are free to return to school without neither quarantining nor testing, even if they were in contact with a student who decisively tested positive.
The amount of close contact emails received has resulted in many students being gone, and the situation makes it even harder for teachers to change their course materials for the students that aren’t attending class. Students struggle to catch up on work and assessment, especially with finals coming up in a few days, this difficulty definitely poses a challenge for many.
As a result of the COVID-19 surge, ASB has decided to cancel the Winter Formal dance for the safety of everyone at CHS. Having everything but school and traditional sports getting postponed, cancelled, or transferred to Zoom, another big question pops up: are sports going to be cancelled this season? It seems that regular tryouts are still up and running on the CHS website bulletin; however, with Omicron spreading as quick as wildfire the chances are that sports might be pushed back due to many games being cancelled.
With COVID surging around the county, CHS has decided to implement a policy where masks are required to be worn all times both indoors and outdoors unless eating. Even when eating, it is recommended to be six feet apart from the people surrounding yourself. A new detention rule has been put in place to keep students and teachers safe at all times, which is: if a student is warned twice about keeping their mask on, they will receive a detention.
As CHS advances further into the depths of Omicron, it is important to note all students of CHS are now permitted to receive the booster if they are fully vaccinated.
There are no clear conclusions on how CHS staff and administration is going to handle this growing situation. After all, without the state mandating that schools go back to remote learning, many students doubt that online school will happen again. Although most teachers are working hard to accommodate finals for every student, whether they are absent or not, the difficulties of maintaining the exams have been a struggle. Nevertheless, CHS’ community hopes it will be able to handle this situation accordingly and if cases continue to arise, students and teachers might just find themselves back in front of the screen again.

If you are interested in signing a petition related to going back to online learning, click the link:

If you are interested in learning more about Omicron’s impact on the school, feel free to read this other article:…rrent-sub-crisis/