Students in the Sweetwater Union High School District returned to school after winter break Tuesday with the same hope students from other school districts in the county have: That schools will stay open.
The key is staffing. Teachers and staff are catching omicron just like many other people.
The district’s director of grants and communications, Nadege Johnson, said on Tuesday that Sweetwater is expected to have better numbers Wednesday in terms of the absentee rate among both teachers and students. Preliminary reports from individual schools, Johnson said, show “it was pretty much normal.”
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The district has a mitigation procedure in place, Johnson said, to "deploy" staff from the district office to cover classes if necessary. She also said school officials sent some district staff to cover classes on Tuesday but it was not unusual for the district to do that.
“We were doing that prior to the COVID surge with Omicron," Johnson said. "It's just something we’ve had in place since the beginning of the pandemic.”
Students at Sweetwater High School in National City said some classes had half as many students in them as normal but that most teachers were present. Still, they're worry. Referring to school officials, Aaron Gonzalez said, “They talked about doing online for kids who are sick but not about teachers missing. I'm worried about that, though, because it means we have to go back to online learning.”
It's a concern shared in many places these days.
“It’s a countywide concern, so, yes, we are concerned," Johnson said. "We are doing everything in our power to maintain student in-person instruction.”