Student Life

Feb 2022

Omicron Effect: MUSD schools, including Sierra, dealing with the holiday spike


Communication By Design

COVID has affected billions around the world. The latest variant, Omicron, has shown the highest surge and is the most contagious.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “The great increase in daily cases over the past several weeks is largely related to the Omicron variant, which now represents about 98% of the COVID-19 cases in the country.”

In January, the CDC suggested the Omicron surge hasn't yet reached its peak. Bay Area school districts, such as the San Francisco Unified School District, closed in January because of Omicron surges and teacher shortages. Could Omicron possibly send Manteca Unified back into lockdown? District officials don’t believe so, despite a heavy holiday spike.

As of mid-February, Sierra had 15 student absences related to the coronavirus and no teacher absences, according to the Manteca Unified School District’s COVID-19 dashboard. In January, Sierra witnessed an alarming number of student (180) and teacher absences (5-12), per school administration, though not all those absences were related to the coronavirus.

“In my career, this has been the worst the attendance has been,” Sierra High vice principal Anne Marie Shaw said in January.

Director of Community Outreach Victoria Brunn of the Manteca Unified School District noted that the district has felt the effects of the holiday spike.

“Return(ing) from winter break, we did see the largest number of staff and students with the virus,” Brunn said in a statement to Paw Prints on Feb. 8.

“The impacts of COVID-19 are across the system, both in staffing and student attendance,” she added. “We hope as of March 1, we will have migrated successfully through the current variance and viral spread through our community. We noticed a notable drop this past Monday (Feb. 7) in employee absence from the coronavirus.”

Brunn believes these optimistic signs will help MUSD avoid a lockdown.

“Currently, we do not anticipate a transition to remote or distance learning for all students,” she said.

About the Author

About the Author

Celeste Randolph is a junior at Sierra High, studying Communication By Design. Randolph wants to become a journalist. She is very active on campus and is a part of the following clubs: Speech and Debate Club; Family, Career and Community Leaders of America; Drama Club; Animal Rescue Club; Hispanic Youth Leadership Club; Link Crew; and Korean Pop Culture Club. Randolph has also competed in swim, softball, and track and field at the school and dance outside of school.