More teachers and students return to classes as omicron variant slows down locally
Long Beach, California – The number of teachers and students missing classes in Long Beach due to the recent COVID-19 surge is starting to decline, as the transmission of the omicron variant seems to be slowing in the area.
A week after hitting previously unheard-of levels, the Long Beach Health Department said that key factors indicating the rate at which the coronavirus spreads had declined for three consecutive days. Long Beach health authorities reported on Monday that the daily case rate had dropped to 378.7 per 100,000 people, down from 426.8 a few days before. Also, the number of people who tested positive for coronavirus has decreased slightly to 27 percent, down from 29.7 percent at the beginning of last week.
In the same way, the trend of infections was seen in the local schools.
Pre-COVID After returning to school after winter break, the Long Beach Unified School District’s average attendance had dropped to 78 percent, a significant drop from the previous year’s 95 percent. Last week, things started to look up. Every day, the district had above 80% attendance, with attendance ranging from 82.8 to 84 percent on average.
One of the district’s biggest logistical challenges was staffing classes since hundreds of teachers were absent as a result of testing positive for COVID-19 or being exposed to the virus. The absence of more than 500 of the district’s about 3,400 teachers has limited the pool of eligible LBUSD substitutes, prompting the use of credentialed district personnel and school administrators to fill in on several days in recent weeks, according to district officials.
Today, 290 teachers were absent, a significant decrease from the 504 teachers who were absent on January 14. While this is a significant decrease from the peak of the omicron surge, it is still an extremely high level, requiring the staffing of 40 classrooms by administrators.
The district expressed optimism that this week’s events are an indication that the worst is behind them.
“The teacher data seems to be trending in a better direction along with our student attendance. We hope the trend continues,” said LBUSD spokesperson Chris Eftychiou.
According to statistics released on the city’s dashboard today, the number of people in Long Beach area hospitals who have COVID has also decreased slightly, to 332 from 336 a day earlier. The number of hospitalizations in Long Beach and around Los Angeles County has been slowly declining over the previous several days, according to the latest data.
Last week, on the other hand, was the worst week for COVID-related fatalities in Long Beach since March 2021. The city recorded a total of 16 deaths.
The city has recorded an additional five fatalities as of today. Given the weekend reporting delay, the figures are based on data from the previous day on Friday.