COVID-19 cases continue to mount among staff and students in Seattle schools, with some opting to move back to virtual learning less than two weeks into the winter term.
Puget Sound schools feel strain of omicron surge
Seattle Public Schools conducted preliminary COVID-19 testing before classes resumed in January, identifying 588 positive cases out of just over 14,000 students and staff members. Over the first week of classes between Jan. 1-7, over 800 additional cases were identified, nearly eight times the previous record for cases in a single week dating back to August of 2021.
Out of 803 positive COVID-19 tests, 643 were students, while the remaining 145 were staff members. That’s led to staffing shortages, canceled classes, and in some cases, a temporary move back to virtual learning.
Franklin High School — which had the most cases of any school over that one-week period — canceled classes on Monday and Tuesday of this week after totaling 89 positive tests last week, before announcing that it would be going remote for the remainder of the week, and then returning to in-person instruction the Tuesday after the Martin Luther King Day holiday next week.
Still a chance of school closures, but decision will fall to districts
Kimball Elementary canceled all classes on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this week, but has yet to announce plans to shift to remote learning, stating only that the school will “assess each day moving forward.”
Lowell Elementary did not suffer any early week cancellations, but will be going remote through Jan. 20,

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