Around Bosco: St. John Bosco Fights to Stay Open Among COVID-19 Surge

by Andrew Fierro, Managing Editor

As the new Omicron variant continues to spread rapidly across the nation, colleges across the state are beginning to return to online learning. However, St. John Bosco has taken preventive measures in order to stay in person as initially planned.

Photo by County of Los Angeles Public Health

The first detected case of the variant in the United States occurred on December 1st in California. Since then, the variant has spread rapidly across the state and as well as the country. This variant has proven to be more contagious than the prior variants and has caused turmoil everywhere it has spread.

Since the first arrival of the variant, cases of COVID-19 have risen to record high numbers, with the average number of cases per week being more than double than that of a year prior, according to data released January 5th.

Though there has been an astronomical increase in the number of cases, the amount of hospitalizations are very low compared to the amount of contracted cases. The chances of someone being hospitalized due to the variant is only 2% with only a 5% chance of being admitted to the emergency room.

Even with this low hospitalization rate, this variant has caused a number of schools across the country to transition back to online learning for the time being. Though for Los Angeles United School District (LAUSD), the main priority is to make sure that this is not the case. Although many colleges and universities in the state have already made the announcement that they will be returning to online learning, K-12 schools in the LAUSD are doing everything possible to avoid this situation.

The LAUSD prepared in many different ways to remain on campus for the remainder of the school year to ready themselves for many possible scenarios that may affect the way schools conduct class. For example, the district has set up more than enough resources in the case of staff shortages in order to assure that the students continue to receive education while remaining on campus. 

In a similar situation, Bosco has also decided that the benefits of staying on campus are too high to return to online learning, if it can be avoided safely. Due to this, the school has been working to make sure that everything that is possible is done to keep the students safe and on campus.

To ensure that the students would be able to return to campus safely, the school conducted a mandatory COVID-19 test on Friday, January 7th for all students and faculty. In order to return to school, students and faculty must have tested negative no more than 72 hours before Monday, January 10th, the day school resumed. 

Following this test, Bosco will continue to administer weekly tests to all faculty and staff, as well as student athletes. Bosco’s Principal, Dr. Kris Anderson, was pleased to see that the number of students testing positive for COVID-19 was significantly lower than that of other schools in the area.

“We are at about 7%, tremendously lower than a lot of our public school counterparts are,” said Dr. Anderson.

This figure has a lot to do with how St. John Bosco will conduct on-campus learning and the safety measures that they have put in place. Dr. Anderson feels that this is very much to the credit of the students and families of the Bosco community.

“Our families are doing a really good job. If people weren’t taking it seriously, our number would have been a lot higher. I am really proud of our community for taking it seriously so that we were able to stay on campus,” said Dr. Anderson.

Being online is something that many students will remember as being a difficult adjustment, and it was not nearly as beneficial as being on campus. Many of Bosco’s teachers feel the same way, and Dr. Anderson wants all students to continue to learn on campus so that they can get the most out of their education.

“It wasn’t fun for any of us. Being a teacher in a classroom when you are trying to teach everyone, or when half of your class is at home, it’s even worse. Our goal set back in August was to have 180 days of instruction on campus, and to this point, everybody is holding up their end of the bargain,” said Dr. Anderson.

With all the steps that Bosco is taking and through the commitment of the community, the hope is that the remainder of the year will be able to be held entirely on campus. As both the students and the teachers are enjoying on-campus instruction, neither would be thrilled with a transition back to online learning.

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