New coronavirus variant reported: the Omicron


American Society for Microbiology

Diagram of the Omicron variant provided by the American Society for Microbiology.

Brynn Kirkland, Staff Writer

A new coronavirus variant, Omicron, has been reported in the United States, and The New York Times says it’s much more contagious than the Delta variant. 

The Omicron variant was first discovered in South Africa, but the first case in the U.S. was confirmed on Dec. 1st in California. According to the Centers for Disease Control data, the omicron variant has been reported in 38 states. The New York Times said that the Omicron is two to three times more likely to spread than the Delta variant. 

With the discovery of this new variant, it poses a variety of different problems for all countries, along with the question of what it means for school districts.

“There are some districts going remote at this time, so I suppose that it is a possibility for us, but I don’t know that it is a strong possibility at this point,” said BHS Principal Billy Lewis. 

At the moment, BHS has no plans to go back to online learning, but if these variants continue to progress, schools might not have a choice but to revert back to online learning. 

“Right now most of the recommendations from the local and state health department is to not close a school down temporarily, but focus on just isolating students who are close contacts or test positive,” District 100 Supt. Daniel Woestman said. “This means teachers will need to continue to provide remote support probably throughout the year.”

Although there are still many concerns and questions about the new COVID variant, the one thing that is said to help is the vaccine along with the booster shot.

According to the website The Conversation: Pfizer has reported that receiving their booster shot improves antibody activity and reduces the chances of being susceptible. 

Since the booster shot protects against the new covid variant, students who have the vaccine will have better odds of staying in person for the remainder of the school year. 

“The most important thing to remember is that we can get through this, we will get through this, and we need to support each other to help us all get through this,” Woestman said.