Rising Cases Diminish Attendance

How the Omicron variant is affecting Poway High


The first week of school back from a winter break, the Omicron variant of the Coronavirus presented trials and tribulations instead of a fresh start for the new year. 

According to the Poway Unified School District website, the total number of cases at Poway High on Dec. 22 was three “school based” cases, including students and also staff members. On Jan. 22, numbers were up to 147.

Governor Gavin Newsom’s office announced on Dec. 22 that they planned to distribute over 6 million test kits to schools, enough to supply every K-12 student.

“The idea was to distribute the tests before break. Then, everybody can take the test after break and not spread the virus,” Assistant Principal Gannon Burks said. 

Due to global shipping and trading delays the kits did not arrive until the first week back while school was in session. The tests were distributed through homeroom classes Jan. 7 for student access.

The Poway Unified School District (PUSD) is seeing a spike in a number of student absences due to the Omicron variant and fear of a contagion. The hope is that with the tests being given out, more students will feel confident in coming to school with negative results. “I think giving out these tests will allow for more transparency between person to person,” concerned senior Teddy Gaudia said.

With work done for remote learning in 2020 teachers are finding themselves more prepared to deliver instruction to students at home.

“Everything’s online. Lately, we have been paying extra attention to emails at all hours of the day, so we can quickly respond to kid’s problems,” Civics and History teacher Patrick Pillsbury said.

 Poway High’s primary goal is to keep students in school. The test kit’s purpose was to help parents struggling to schedule COVID tests. “The tests were more to provide assurance to parents who weren’t able to make test appointments because they were so backed up,” said Brett WIlliams, Poway High School’s Health technician.

In-person learning is the preferred way for students to properly digest new information. When methods to lessen the number of cases at Poway High are implemented, it helps everyone get back on a track to normalcy.

“That’s the overall picture. How do we get kids back quicker? Give them a test, have them in their hands,” Burks said.