As the surging Omicron variant raises the number of COVID-19 cases in Solano County, local parents are increasingly concerned about keeping their kids in the classroom.
The rapid growth has been on the mind of Vallejo and Benicia school districts as they wrestle with the question of halting in-person instruction.
“As has been the experience of school districts throughout the region and across the state of California, the Vallejo City Unified School District has seen a steady uptick of positive COVID-19 cases among its staff and students,” district spokesperson Stephen Nichols said in an email to the Times-Herald on Thursday afternoon. “In alliance with the state and county public health agencies, the district continues to provide multiple and robust safeguards within its schools, offices, and classrooms to prevent the spread of the virus. At this time, absentee rates in the district average 20-25 percent overall, but it should be noted this includes all categories — not just COVID case absences, which is a fraction of the total absences.”
As of Friday afternoon, Solano County had seen 57,641 COVID-related cases, with 5.666 active cases. On Dec. 30, Solano had seen 49,378 COVID-19 related cases, with 1,382 of them being current. That means in about two weeks the county has seen over 8,000 new cases. There have been 363 COVID-19 related deaths — over 115 of them coming since July of last year.
Nichols went on to say that the district continues to monitor trends and will respond appropriately.
“As required by the state, VCUSD has a strong desire to continue to offer daily in-person instruction as the best and most effective form of learning,” Nichols said.
A letter sent out from Solano Widenmann Leadership Academy to its students’ parents and families is shown. (Courtesy Photo)
On Jan. 10 a Parent Square letter from Solano Widenmann Leadership Academy Vice-Principal Diane Johnson informed the school’s parents and families that a child in the school’s classroom had “tested positive for COVID-19 and your child has been identified as being as a close contact. As you know, all appropriate protocols, including mask wearing and practicing good hygiene are at place at Solano Widenmann.”
The letter went on to say that students vaccinated with no symptoms could return to school immediately but must be tested on the fifth day from exposure. Those students must have proof of vaccination.
For those not vaccinated, the student was asked to stay home for five days. On the fifth day of exposure, they were asked to get a COVID test. If the test resulted in negative, they could return or they could stay at home for 10 days and not test.
Emerita Barker, a parent of an eighth-grader at the school, was concerned after receiving the letter. Barker claimed that an office worker at the school said that 132 students were out due to COVID or COVID-related symptoms or common colds.
The Times-Herald called the front desk of the school on Friday and two people answered having no knowledge of that many people out. One of the two called the accusation …read more
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