As the United States deals with its worst yet surge in coronavirus cases, students across the country are having to cope with sudden changes to try to stop the spread of infections.
Driven by the omicron variant, the average number of new COVID-19 cases has surpassed 400,000 per day, double what it was a week ago and triple the number from two weeks ago.
That has led school officials to reconsider their plans for bringing students back to classrooms following winter breaks that in many places spanned the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
Schools in Los Angeles will not open again until January 11, and students are being required to show a negative COVID-19 test result to be allowed on school grounds.
Negative tests are also required for students in Washington, D.C., where classes resume Wednesday.
The school systems in Chicago and Seattle are strongly recommending their students get tested before coming back, but they are not required.
The surge in infections has also left many schools without enough teachers and staff to hold in-person classes.
The combination of those shortages and efforts to slow the tide of new cases prompted schools in Milwaukee, Cleveland, Detroit and Philadelphia to shift some or all of their classes back to the online learning platforms that students have had to rely on for education through much of the pandemic.
Similar forces are having impacts outside of schools as well. The Smithsonian Institution announced that several of its major museums in Washington will have to close or operate under reduced hours for at least 12 days as it experiences “unprecedented staff shortages.”
Many airlines, while also battling winter weather issues, have had to cancel flights with a lack of air crews healthy enough to work.
Some information for this report came from the Associated Press and Reuters.