NPHS Faces Omicron With Precaution Coming Back From Winter Break

Students+in+the+halls+taking+precaution+with+masks+as+cases+rise.

Emily Dahms

Students in the halls taking precaution with masks as cases rise.

The New Year is an annual reason for hope and a refreshing start to a brand new year. Many people, like students, plan to break bad habits whether it is in school or at home through their resolutions. However, no one’s resolution is to fight off a Covid-19 variant.

The new strain of the Coronavirus, Omicron, has left many students and others stressed over what that will do to school life. Concerns about being sent home and going virtual have been circling for a couple days now. This has put stress and panic on lots of students. However, everyone’s concerns do not go unnoticed.

“The main concern we have as we return from break is the high number of positive students and staff that has resulted from the holiday season and the new variant that is now prevalent. Being able to navigate the high number of students that need to learn from home as well as the number of staff that are unable to come to the building until their isolations end is a concern for all schools in trying to keep buildings open for in-person instruction,” North Penn High School Principal Mr. Pete Nicholson stated.

Unfortunately, these cases have put a lot of stress on different departments in North Penn.

“We’ve been doing our best to stay on top of parent phone calls and emails regarding their students that have been exposed to COVID. Our nurses and Mrs. Marino in the Health Suite have worked endlessly over these past few days to do their best to get back to all parents and help set up streaming for students that are unable to come to the building for COVID purposes,” Nicholson explained.

North Penn is everything they can at the moment to manage staff absences so that they can rest and recover from Covid-19.

From last school year to now, North Penn has been placing precautionary measures and guidelines to help keep the rise of cases as low as possible. Although the new variant is spreading fast, North Penn was successful in keeping cases low prior to winter break.

“I really feel good about how things have been handled here at NPHS in that regard. While cases have increased across the region and nation, I can say that the virus’ spread at NPHS inside the building has been minimal. In most instances, positive cases of COVID in both students and staff have come from outside contact with the virus and not from contact within the school building,” Nicholson elaborated.

I really feel good about how things have been handled here at NPHS in that regard. While cases have increased across the region and nation, I can say that the virus’ spread at NPHS inside the building has been minimal.”

— Mr. Pete Nicholson

As teachers and students are testing positive within the district, those cases greatly impact decisions being made about how we stand with in-person compared to virtual learning.

“It’s hard to lay out each option for how a positive case impacts decisions. As we talked about, the number of positive COVID cases has really increased since we returned from break but to this point the cause of those cases has been the spread of the virus outside of the school day and over the holidays,” Nicholson said.

The winter break was certainly a significant cause of the spike in cases. With students and staff seeing friends and family over the break, the rise in cases was inevitable. This has made the topic of going back to virtual learning unavoidable and there are many mixed opinions on whether that’s a good option for schools right now. Ultimately it is up to the number of cases and the spread.

“We are committed to doing everything we can to keep the building open for in-person learning while still allowing those that need to isolate or quarantine to access their classes virtually,” Nicholson concluded.