Schools start back cautiously under threat of Omicron


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With the new Omicron variant of coronavirus surging across the nation and Alabama, schools are reopening with extreme caution this week after the Christmas holidays — if they are returning to campuses at all.

Many systems have reinstated mask requirements and at least two have opted for virtual classes instead of inperson, on-campus classes, at least for a week.

Clarke County’s two public systems are proceeding with caution as well.

Clarke County Superintendent Larry Bagley said he isn’t imposing a mask mandate but is highly recommending that students, staff and visitors wear masks.

He restated the need for social distancing and good hygiene including handwashing.

He also said he hasn’t ruled out the possibility of virtual classes but said right now the numbers don‘t support that extreme measure.

“As of Monday, we only had three [students] out with the new variant. One of those will be back in the classroom Thursday.”

Thomasville City Schools Superintendent Garth Moss said, “First of all, we will transition back to masks being strongly recommended for everyone for the next few weeks. This Omicron variant seems to be very contagious and easily transmitted to others.”

Both Bagley and Moss urged that if a child shows any symptoms that they not be sent to school until they have a negative test or are symptom free.

Moss concluded, “We will continue to monitor the Covid numbers in our system very closely. We will keep you updated as soon as new information becomes available. Please understand that there is a strong possibility that we may have to transition to virtual instruction for a short period of time until this variant has run its course.”

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