Covid Policy Powerless Against Omicron


With a recent spike in Covid cases due to the newest variant Omicron, SVHS is now up against a new set of challenges. During winter break students visited family, friends, and traveled to celebrate the holidays which contributed to the spike in cases at our school. When we returned from winter break students and staff have seen a drop in attendance due to these exposures. With many exposures, students sought out PCR tests which became hard to find due to the amount of people requesting them. Recently the school district has been issuing PCR tests that have been taking up to 5-7 days for results having massive impacts on students’ school work. Many students traveled out of town in order to take them. Once students got a test they waited two days for results, which contributed to the drop in attendance. Due to the sheer amount of people taking the tests, results got backed up causing results to come days late. 

School policy regarding Omicron has stayed relatively the same. Before school, students are still required to fill out Crisis Go which determines if you are allowed to attend school. When I returned to school after break I had been exposed and marked this on Crisis Go, since I am vaccinated and had no symptoms I was allowed to return to school. The next two days following I did not return to school (although I was allowed) since I was waiting on results from a PCR test. I felt that this was safer to my peers, and not worth possibly exposing others. I believe that if exposed, due to the contagiousness of the virus, that student should show a test to return to school. However, now this proves difficult since it would keep students from attending school until results get back. With personal experience I know multiple people that were exposed over break and returned to school without a test, testing positive a few days later exposing people in their classes and sports teams. With so many exposures and cases, many students believe that it would be safer to continue on online school until we are on the backend, but SVHS has not considered this option. Recently, SVHS have given out rapid tests to students and are now accepting them as well as PCR tests. According to the FDA, rapid tests “do detect the Omicron variant, but may have reduced sensitivity,” meaning that rapid tests may give false results.

Along with not always requiring testing, the mask policy at SVHS has also lessened. Although required in class, many students wander the hall without a face covering even in busy passing periods. 

With all of these factors cases and lack of attendance have been at an all time high. SVHS should reconsider their policy to make it safer for students and staff to return to school.