CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Thousands of schools across the nation have had to adjust their return from winter break plans as the highly transmissible omicron variant continues to spread. Many U.S. schools have opted to temporarily switch to remote learning or cancel classes altogether.
More than 3,700 K-12 schools will be closed nationwide for in-person learning for at least part of this week, according to Burbio, a company that has tracked school openings.
Chicago Public Schools canceled classes Wednesday after the Chicago Teachers Union voted Tuesday night in favor of remote learning. The 25,000-member union is demanding increased testing and better masks distributed at schools and they want to halt in-person learning temporarily so that more safety protocols can be put in place.
School districts across the country are faced with the same decision.
Milwaukee Public Schools said Sunday it would temporarily switch to remote instruction beginning Tuesday because of “an influx of reported positive Covid-19 cases among district staff.” The district said it hopes to resume in-person instruction on Jan. 10.
The Detroit School District announced that no school would be held from Jan. 3 to Jan. 5. The school system said on Friday that it would test its staff earlier in the week and would distribute laptop computers to students in case it needs to switch to remote learning.
In Ohio, Cleveland’s Public Schools decided to shift to remote learning for the first week of the new year citing COVID-19 concerns.
Atlanta Public Schools said classes will be held virtually through Friday, Jan. 7. In New Jersey, some students will work remotely until mid-January. Newark’s school district, the state’s largest, with about 40,000 students, expects to continue remote learning through Jan. 18.
During the week of Dec. 22 to Dec. 28, an average of 378 children 17 and under were admitted per day to hospitals with the coronavirus, a 66% increase from the week before, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. About 1,045 children under 18 have died from COVID-19, the CDC said.