Omicron and the Opening of Schools

The omicron variant of the Corona virus is spreading across the globe like wild fire. However, up to this point we have not heard from the health authorities whether this new and virulent variant has been discovered in SVG. Given what is currently known about Omicron, it is safe to assume that it is already here and we should act accordingly.

My major concern is the anticipated spike in cases and what it might mean for the resumption of school in a face-to-face setting. Online education has been a failure for many despite the sterling efforts made by students, teachers, parents and the authorities. For me, a return to online school is utterly and completely out of the question. Therefore, we must learn to live, work and play with the virus even as Omicron rages.

I listen to the experts. In so doing, I learn a lot. For instance, despite the virulence of variants such as Omicron, the world is much better armed to put up a fight against the pandemic than we were in the early months of its emergence. The public health protocols, the emerging therapeutics and, yes, the vaccines have all put us in a position to effectively combat and defeat Omicron. However, to arrive at this point, it requires global solidarity, national unity and personal responsibility.

As long as we are prepared to do what is required, face-to-face school can and must resume indefinitely. To do so safely and thus minimize outbreaks of Omicron, all concerned must adhere to the following:

1. Regular sanitization of hands and surfaces;

2. Wearing masks in the appropriate settings.

3. Observing social distancing as far as practicable;

4. Conducting regular testing for COVID-19 among all school personnel; and

5. Vaccinating ALL who are eligible including students.

The pandemic forced us to make some serious adjustments to life and work. Some of them made sense, others have turned out to be nonsensical. Online school was nonsensical. Even as Omicron rages, keep our school doors open. Let’s beat the pandemic by following the science.

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