Written by Ella Bohmann Farrell
UPDATE AS OF 1/14/22: The COVID-19 Dashboard has been updated since January 9th, the publication date of this article. The district now reports 191 student cases and 12 staff cases, totaling to 203 reported cases for the week of January 3rd to the 7th.
On Saturday, January 8th the District’s COVID-19 Dashboard reported 641 cases across the District during the first week of school. M-A reported 188 staff and student cases. Of those, 11 out of 142 staff members (8%) and 177 out of 2,226 students (8%) were positive for COVID in the last five days.
The case numbers from just this past week have surpassed the total cases from all of last semester by 120 cases. Similarly, the District’s COVID cases have tripled within the past five days, surpassing total cases from last semester by 407 cases.
Surrounding schools face similar circumstances as Woodside, Sequoia and Carlmont all had case totals over 100.
In an update regarding COVID-19, Superintendent Dr. Darnise Williams confirmed that there are 640 reports of positive COVID cases across the district in a pool of 11,000 students and staff. The message was reported to parents on a phone call as well as distributed via email Friday evening.
The surge in cases is due to Omicron, the highly contagious new variant of COVID-19. The variant spreads two to three times easier than Delta and, as a result, cases have spiked across San Mateo County and nationally.
Due to the surge, administration has actively encouraged students to increase their safety to help manage the spread. iHealth At-Home Rapid COVID Tests and KN95 masks were distributed to students at the beginning of the week, and Steven Emmi and Karl Loosekoot demonstrated COVID safety procedures on M-A Today.
With more teacher absences, the shortage of substitute teachers has worsened. Also, as more students and staff will be off campus for ten days, lesson plans and course calendars are significantly disrupted and online submissions and assignments are re-emerging.
Meanwhile, on campus, classes get emptier and emptier each day. More spots are available in the parking lot, students return to double masking and KN95’s and teachers are posting more assignments virtually.
French teacher Florence Tubiana said, “Two thirds of one of my classes was empty.” An anonymous senior said, “I could name 20 people off the top of my head who currently have COVID that I am friends with.”