Schools prepare for surge of omicron cases | January 7, 2022 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - January 7, 2022

Schools prepare for surge of omicron cases

Superintendent: 'It's going to be disruptive'

by Zoe Morgan

The line of teachers and staff waiting to get tested at the Palo Alto Unified School District office on Monday morning was long, stretching in front of the building and around the corner. Parents and students stood in similarly lengthy lines at Cubberley Community Center, with one man having the foresight to bring a lawn chair.

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Posted by CoCo
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 4, 2022 at 2:41 pm

CoCo is a registered user.

I work in a local elementary school. The district is trying to mitigate the spread of covid and keep the schools open by offering on-site tests and take home tests (distributed today to students). But I would kindly ask parents to re-think the masks they are providing for their children. The kids are good about wearing them, but there are many who come to school in ill-fitting, adult-sized cloth masks. The science is pretty clear that cloth masks are not terribly effective against omicron. The schools have supplies of surgical masks that are sized for kids - if parents don't have access to them at home, tell your children to ask their teacher/office for a surgical mask. There are videos on TikTok/YouTube from nurses that show how to tie simple knots in the ear loops and adjust the surgical masks to get a more secure fit to the face. Or have the child wear the cloth mask over/under a surgical mask. The adult-sized masks often slip down below the nose on kids, and then they are just decorative, not functional. We need to work together to keep our schools open - although it does feel like an uphill battle - a quarter of the students in my classroom were not present today.

Posted by j teacher
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 4, 2022 at 2:51 pm

j teacher is a registered user.

Is your pie chart right? It suggests 89.9 percent of our cases in SCC are Delta, not Omicron.

Posted by No heat
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jan 4, 2022 at 3:44 pm

No heat is a registered user.

The pie chart is comes from Web Link which says


Which means that it's substantially unrelated to current conditions. If you want to get a sense of how prevalent Omicron is, take a look at Web Link which tracks RNA concentration in sewage, with the del 143-145 mutation being a marker for Omicron. This makes it absolutely clear that the bulk of local cases are due to Omicron.

Posted by William Hitchens
a resident of Mountain View
on Jan 4, 2022 at 6:30 pm

William Hitchens is a registered user.

Most overpaid public school teachers, their self-promoted and grossly overpaid administrators, and elected public school board members are of inferior intellectual and educational quality compared to those of us who slaved at (and actually Learned and Understood!!!!) really difficult subjects. to earn REAL college degrees. We work in far higher status jobs that require true intelligence and superior job performance and proficiency. not just "feel good" ignorant teacher mediocrity.
Are these educationally and educationally inferior "teachers", their "administrators", and their pathetic school board members really competent to protect our children. NO, NO, NO.
And do they have the financial resources to make their schools truly safe from Covid infection? Not only for daily testing, masking and 6 foot distancing but also for PROPER SCHOOL ROOM VENTILATION??? NO, NO, NO!
In a time of Covid, the whole public education system is shockingly incompetent and underfunded. But, hasn't it always been?

Posted by Morgan
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jan 4, 2022 at 7:51 pm

Morgan is a registered user.

A large number of Omicron cases are mild, especially for the vaccinated and those with boosters. Many of those people don't even bother to get tested, or rely on home testing. We have 6 people in our house, all of us have had it in the past month, only one of us got an official PCR test through the county. All of the others were home tests. Those don't show up on any data.
I wouldn't put too much faith in the accuracy of the numbers.

Posted by Local
a resident of Stanford
on Jan 4, 2022 at 10:21 pm

Local is a registered user.

Thank you to all PAUSD school teachers for teaching our kids. Mine were back in school today and our family really appreciates the teachers fantastic work. Many of us in tech/finance/university have had the luxury to WFH, but not the teachers so I really appreciate their dedication :-).

So many thanks from a local parent

Posted by Here SInce 1979
a resident of Green Acres
on Jan 5, 2022 at 8:07 am

Here SInce 1979 is a registered user.

Sir, you must have been in a terrible mood yesterday. I suggest that you look at the demographics of the degrees held by teachers in PAUSD. Personally I have two masters, one in Organic Chemistry and in Educational Leadership. I worked at SRI as a consultant to the chemical industry, working on production/consumption, pricing trends, product viability studies, etc. Later in my life I found teaching to be fulfilling and I love the challenge of getting our students excited to learn.
I hope you feel better and not need to demolish others to make yourself feel better.

Posted by JHM
a resident of Los Altos
on Jan 6, 2022 at 12:12 pm

JHM is a registered user.

To Mr. Hitchens of Mountain View: I must acknowledge that my skepticism comes to the fore when ever anyone feels the need to put down others or professions by proclaiming his/her own incredible education, intelligence and superiority. I am not alone in feeling that the need to brag about such issues in reality often reveals the ego needs and basic insecurity of such persons. We have recently experienced a self proclaimed: “Very Stable Genius” in the White House to mixed reviews!
I will continue honoring teaching as a profession and the dedicated, innovative, adaptable, too often under appreciated men and women who are there for us.

Posted by ProfvilleResident
a resident of Professorville
on Jan 7, 2022 at 9:35 pm

ProfvilleResident is a registered user.

Pushing this until we hit a point where we can no longer staff schools is more than “disruptive.”

The real (and inhumane) toll behind that statement is that we’re willing to let this run until enough teachers are infected (many of whom will take the virus home to their vaccine-ineligible younger children or immunocompromised family members) and until we’ve run out of substitutes.

Also, if the district had the at-home kits on Sunday, why weren’t these made available for students to pick up from their campus on Monday? Sending tests home with kids on Tuesday/Wednesday after having already been at school all day seems like a missed opportunity for added mitigation.

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