Town Square

Post a New Topic

Hundreds of COVID-19 cases appear in Palo Alto schools as omicron surges

Original post made on Jan 7, 2022

Classes have been back in session for less than a week after winter break and local schools are reporting record numbers of COVID-19 cases among students and staff, as the highly contagious omicron variant spreads locally.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, January 7, 2022, 9:56 AM

Comments (42)

Posted by Barron Parker Too
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 7, 2022 at 10:30 am

Barron Parker Too is a registered user.

It's interesting that PAUSD hasn't yet got the "memo":

Omicron produces an estimated 70 times the number of virus particles in the upper respiratory track as delta. It is far, far more infectious. So you're all going to get it, whether you come to school or stay home, whether you wear masks or don't, whether or not you are vaccinated or boosted.

And you are going to get it very soon, almost certainly within the next 2 months.

[Portion removed.]

So don't close down the schools. There will be lots of absences in the next two months, and then it will be over.


Posted by Old Palo Alto Resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 7, 2022 at 10:49 am

Old Palo Alto Resident is a registered user.

My friend and his wife had COVID over the holidays. They both had booster shots and only had mild symptoms. But they had to call 911 twice to rush their 18 months boy to the ER because of high fever and seizure. One of the seizures lasted for 20min.


Posted by Member
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 7, 2022 at 10:52 am

Member is a registered user.

Thank you PAUSD for keeping the schools open. Thank you teachers and administrators for your efforts. As a parent I greatly appreciate your hard work.


Posted by Anon123456
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 7, 2022 at 10:58 am

Anon123456 is a registered user.

It matters a lot whether "we all get it" in the space of 3 weeks or 3 months.

Article: "Hospitals Are in Serious Trouble" Web Link


Posted by No heat
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jan 7, 2022 at 11:00 am

No heat is a registered user.

Get your boosters folks; they're authorized for anybody age 12+ who has been at least 5 months since their last dose, and highly effective at keeping you out of the hospital. If you're able to drive to the south part of the county, you can get a booster today. Web Link


Posted by panative
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 7, 2022 at 12:21 pm

panative is a registered user.

As a Palo Alto parent, I am profoundly grateful to all teachers and school staff (and to all other essential workers as well) for their unbelievable commitment to this community. They are going to work knowing that it's very likely they will get sick - and they're doing it anyway. Sure, Omicron is relatively mild - for most. But not for all. Huge thanks (and hazard pay) are in order.


Posted by NB
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 7, 2022 at 12:24 pm

NB is a registered user.

@Barron Parker Too -- it won't be over for those that experience Long COVID-19. There are many outcomes between death and full recovery, including permanent organ damage.


Posted by JustAnotherDay
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 7, 2022 at 3:06 pm

JustAnotherDay is a registered user.

Please understand that what PAUSD will report is going to be very underreported. I know of several cases in PAUSD kids that tested positive in the 1-2 days before school started/end of the winter break so they never went to school. Case rates in PAUSD families are even higher than what PAUSD will report, as none of those cases will show up in the PAUSD data as they were never on campus. But these kids have siblings in school and your kid plays with them at the park, on sports teams, is with them in art classes, encounters them at the store, the library, etc. Covid is rampant in the community right now! EVERYONE I know that has it right now is FULLY VACCINATED and BOOSTERED if they were eligible. Stay safe everyone!


Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 7, 2022 at 4:06 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

I have no idea exactly what is happening in Palo Alto schools today. What I do hear though is that all over the Bay Area there are "sick outs" at schools by teachers and probably students too. Additionally, those who are going to school are not able to be in their own classrooms but have to double up and have substitutes who are basically babysitting showing videos or playing games, and apart from attendance taking, there is very little purpose to very much of what they are doing.

As to next week, we shall have to see how things progress, but the likelihood is that for at least another week or two, there will be huge numbers of absences for either protest, precautions due to lack of tests or exposure to a positive case, or genuine sickness. Even genuine sickness is generally speaking a mild dose and many will not even be tested due to the fact that nobody wants to take a sick child to stand in line for a couple of hours to tell them that yes they are sick and to stay home.

The likelihood is that by the end of January Omicron will have hit most of us and the immunity will strengthen the population. We are going to have to wade this month out and then hopefully we can return to some semblance of normality.

The students are once again suffering. Their education is not what it should be from an academic point of view, but my suspicion is that they will become stronger and wiser having survived this provided they are given accurate information and are not scared by those fear mongerers that love to be the doom and gloom brigade.


Posted by Paly Teacher
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 7, 2022 at 5:59 pm

Paly Teacher is a registered user.

I'm not sure how PAUSD is getting their numbers, but it should be clear to everyone that they don't show the whole picture. For example, in an email today, Dr. Austin said no Paly staff members who didn't come to school this week were positive. However, I know of at least four staff members who tested positive and stayed home.

Of course, maybe they didn't tell the district of their status. However, it's still true that whatever numbers the district is putting out, they're probably gross underestimates.

Stay safe everyone.


Posted by William Hitchens
a resident of Mountain View
on Jan 7, 2022 at 6:25 pm

William Hitchens is a registered user.

The ignorant well-meaning AND mediocre abilities of Palo Alto's (and my Mountain View's) elected public school board members, combined our mostly mediocre school administrators, teachers and support personnel, makes the rapid spread of Omicron Covid in classrooms totally predictable. After all, what can we expect from an inferior public education system --- that is crippled by gross under funding and political pressure from ignorant and ideologically biased parents?


Posted by Chris
a resident of University South
on Jan 7, 2022 at 7:10 pm

Chris is a registered user.

TimR,

Looking at the graphs of cases and hospitalizations, which are both in a sharp upward trajectory, how do you know when the numbers will peak? The peak will depend on human behavior and since many people are not taking this wave seriously, they will cause the peaks to go well above where they would if more precautions were taken.


Posted by Samuel L
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jan 7, 2022 at 7:12 pm

Samuel L is a registered user.

Probably not a coincidence that the district website been essentially down for the past two days. Hard to view numbers when none are reported.


Posted by Sally-Ann Rudd
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 8, 2022 at 6:54 am

Sally-Ann Rudd is a registered user.

Grateful and thankful that PAUSD is prioritizing keeping schools open, that includes administrators, teachers, leadership. Thank you. Time to stop worrying about cases and think about deaths, I know multiple people who are positive at this point and most of them have mild cold-like symptoms. Mild illness shouldn't be paralyzing the county and the country.


Posted by Samuel L.
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jan 8, 2022 at 9:25 am

Samuel L. is a registered user.

5 deaths reported in Santa Clara County yesterday. 28 in LA County, 14 in Alameda, 2 in San Mateo County.

Sally Ann Rudd - how many deaths are acceptable to you? What's your number?


Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Jan 8, 2022 at 1:54 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

California "school sick out" is a self-admitted protest by teachers. They don't want to get sick, and they want classes online. It's very easy to read between the lines as to what's going on. The teachers I know are furious with teachers that are playing this game. If you're vaccinated, vaccinations were "sold" as preventing serious illness and death. Teachers and children belong in the classroom. There's inherent risk in everyday living. The Covid "emergency" is behind us. Life goes on.


Posted by CalAveLocal
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jan 8, 2022 at 2:32 pm

CalAveLocal is a registered user.

Jennifer, with all due respect - do you have children in our school district now? I do. I also know that all of the teachers want to do the absolute best by our children - and they have been doing it for the last 2 horrible years. Yes, teachers don't want to get sick. Some of them have underlying health conditions; some have family members that have them. No-one wants to bring Covid home.
Its time to add Covid19 vaccines to a list of mandatory vaccines in school, and do it immediately. Given that at this time its not mandatory, given the number of people who don't believe in getting vaccinated - yes, even in our highly educated Palo Alto - everyone at school needs to stay home if there is any possibility of Covid. This is not a joke, this is not a hoax, this is our reality. And claiming that "teachers are playing a game" because they don't want to work is, frankly, insulting.


Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Jan 8, 2022 at 3:19 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

CalAveLocal -- The teachers are ADMITTING to calling in sick as a protest. It's not "insulting." It's a fact! You obviously aren't following the news. In all fairness, I don't know any PAUSD teachers (with the exception of teachers who taught our kids) so I haven't been told firsthand that this is happening in PAUSD, but it's happening statewide. The last story I read and saw on the news was Oakland, and this is very bad in Contra Costa County (teachers and students) where we live. Over 150 teachers on one day, and over 2,400 students called in sick. The school district is looking for substitutes. Parents are admitting to keeping children home that aren't sick. This IS A PROTEST!


Posted by The Voice of Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 8, 2022 at 3:24 pm

The Voice of Palo Alto is a registered user.

The COVID emergency is not behind us. If it were, there wouldn’t be an article here stating that 100’s of cases are coming into schools, the Superintendent stating that the virus is so prevalent they no longer will send notices or contact trace because it’s too overwhelming, and also stating that if you sent your kids to school that statistically they have been in close contact with someone with COVID.
What the teachers are fighting for is the right to work in a healthy and safe environment regardless if they are vaccinated. Are the children and their families all vaccinated? [Portion removed.]
Next, saying “the teachers you know” is an example of “the anecdotal evidence fallacy.” In place of logical evidence, this fallacy substitutes examples from someone's personal experience. The same logical fallacy applies to the poster earlier that stated the schools shouldn’t be closed because “everyone they knew had mild cold like symptoms.” That’s their experience, not everyone’s experience, and not the reason to keep schools opened during a surge.
One of the biggest lies of the pandemic is the presentation of schools as a “bastion of safety” during a deadly pandemic. It doesn’t matter if the kids walk into school infected or if it is spread in class. This was only done so that parents can drop their kids off and go to work to produce corporate profits. While the administrators/ school board work mostly online, the teachers are on the front lines of it but they can not be expected to keep your children safe from a virus that is transmissible as the measles. Downplaying a deadly respiratory pandemic because it’s called “COVID” and it’s “new” is nonsense. Many demanded schools reopen last year leading to this mass infection in communities. No one is totally sure what the long term effects of this virus will be. Being flexible and going remote in January was the way to go for safety. The lack of leadership here is astounding.


Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Jan 8, 2022 at 3:46 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by The Voice of Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 8, 2022 at 4:29 pm

The Voice of Palo Alto is a registered user.

Now you are trying to conflate the issue into “my insecurities” to try to make it personal, and some nonsense about the medical professionals. We are talking about PAUSD.

The COVID emergency didn’t end with vaccines because millions refused the vaccines and many of the students and the families of the students the teachers are dealing with are unvaccinated.

First you said, “the teachers you know were furious about the other (protesting) teachers.” Then you said “in all fairness, you don’t know any teachers in PAUSD so you don’t know firsthand if this is happening in PAUSD.” This invalidated your initial comment as you even admitted you flip-flopped and proved, as I pointed out, saying the “teachers you know” is a logical fallacy.

Commenting that “the COVID emergency is over” with cases, hospitalizations and deaths still escalating, and constant societal and economical disruptions still taking place, shows that you are uninformed. Placing (COVID) “emergency” in quotes shows a sort of denialism as if COVID still isn’t disrupting things. Again, this article being posted here shows that it is.

Finally, the “this all the teacher’s fault,” standard anti-teacher sentiment doesn’t work in this scenario. The teachers are working in person during a deadly pandemic and should be thanked for their dedication. [Portion removed.] The failings to control the pandemic is not the teacher’s fault. It is the fault of the failed public health policies of our Government to control the pandemic. It is pretty safe to say they have not only lost control of the virus, but are also just balancing the loss of lives with their economic concerns, and teachers and the working class are bearing the brunt of these decisions. The mindset is the standard “the kids and teachers should be in school.” It is not safe right now. [Portion removed.]


Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Jan 8, 2022 at 4:43 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by The Voice of Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 8, 2022 at 4:52 pm

The Voice of Palo Alto is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Jan 8, 2022 at 5:10 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by The Voice of Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 8, 2022 at 6:06 pm

The Voice of Palo Alto is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Jan 8, 2022 at 6:48 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by The Voice of Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 8, 2022 at 6:58 pm

The Voice of Palo Alto is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Jan 8, 2022 at 7:29 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by casey
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 8, 2022 at 9:13 pm

casey is a registered user.

@Samuel L - PAUSD reported that their website provider FinalSite "is currently experiencing an outage due to disruption of certain computer systems on its network which is impacting thousands of schools worldwide. They have been working to identify the issue and secure their systems which included proactively taking certain systems offline."

If you read between the lines, you may be able to guess that their website provider has been subject to a ransomware attack. Having your website go down at this particular moment in time is problematic.


Posted by Samuel L.
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jan 8, 2022 at 9:29 pm

Samuel L. is a registered user.

Casey - You must.jabe a PhD in "reading between the lines". How do you get from a system outage to a ransomware attack?


Posted by Old Palo Alto Resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 9, 2022 at 3:25 pm

Old Palo Alto Resident is a registered user.

For people thinking that COVID is behind us is wishful thinking. With the spike of cases, people are saying not look to just look at the positive rate and we shouldn't be too concern because the death rate is not as high. But more infected people will give the virus more chances to mutate. This will give more chances for a new variant that could be more lethal and contagious.


Posted by Palo Alto Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 9, 2022 at 7:16 pm

Palo Alto Resident is a registered user.

No need to read between any lines. Many articles last week about Final Site's ransomware attack, apparently effecting 1000s of schools. Web Link


Posted by OPA Resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 9, 2022 at 11:41 pm

OPA Resident is a registered user.

I was particularly concerned about not receiving close contact notices from the school for my elementary school kid - they dont go from room to room, so there isnt an unending battle for the school to trace and send the notices .
I reached out using out-of-band channels to the parents of the classroom and thankfully most parents agreed to share covid related information from the class.

Maybe other concerned parents can try to do the same where feasible.


Posted by Local
a resident of Stanford
on Jan 10, 2022 at 7:02 am

Local is a registered user.

Thank you PAUSD for keeping the schools open. Thank you teachers and administrators for your efforts. As a parent I greatly appreciate your hard work.


Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2022 at 8:24 am

Bystander is a registered user.

I am pleased schools are open.

I would be interested in knowing how students are doing with substitutes, volunteers, etc. all taking the place of regular staff. Are more movies being shown? Are classrooms filled with more than one class of students as rooms or teachers are being shared?

In other words, how is education being done? Are the students learning their curriculum or are they just butts on seats?

If education is continuing and there is value in being in their learning environment then of course that is good news. However, if there is no point in a student being in a classroom due to the value of the teaching being done, then they might as well be home watching YouTube videos by good teachers that have been available and are often done better than some of our regular teachers. I have been very impressed with what can be found by Googling around on YouTube as opposed to some of the required remote learning venues.

Of course education involves more than academic learning, socialization skills and similar protocols can't be learned from remote schooling, but we have to understand that schools are primarily there for academics and we do need to know if this is being achieved at the present time.


Posted by TimR
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 10, 2022 at 2:52 pm

TimR is a registered user.

A simpler, more rational way to look at this: everyone who goes out in public (or interacts with people who do) has probably been in "close contact" with someone infected with the Omicron variant. No need for contact tracing and all that. It's everywhere. [Portion removed.]


Posted by Sub
a resident of another community
on Jan 10, 2022 at 7:41 pm

Sub is a registered user.

@Bystander - I work for PAUSD as an elementary sub and can personally vouch that I have a degree in the subject, follow the curriculum, and have never had a sub plan tell me to just “watch a movie”. It’s been a minorly adjusted version of their normal day. While I am nowhere near as qualified as their teachers, I still aim for them to learn.


Posted by Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 12, 2022 at 7:30 am

Resident is a registered user.

[Portion removed.] In modern times people are subject to mass hysteria. We have let collective panic overrule our better instincts and we are out of touch with reality staring at screens that scream horrific "case numbers!!!!" instead of taking sober judicious actions we've exaggerated the omicron [portion removed] threat. [Portion removed.]


Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 12, 2022 at 1:34 pm

Anonymous is a registered user.

Taxpayer here…
“Oversight urged of school Covid spending,” by John Fensterwald in The Daily Journal, Oct. 21, 2021, p. 3 :

“The state auditor criticized the California Department of Education for inadequately monitoring $24 billion in federal Covid relief that is going to school districts and charter schools. Without better oversight, the department won’t know if districts are mis-applying the money or wisely using the massive, unprecedented aid, California State Auditor Elaine Howle wrote in an audit…”

“The department doesn’t require districts to document the spending data they report, she said, adding that as a result, the department ‘lacks assurance’ districts are spending the money the way the federal government intended.”

- but one instance of lack of accounting in CA state government (all levels) for spending decisions - after receiving lavish funding.
This includes schools, with a cry for more, more.
How about we educate citizens and legal residents?

Funding in schools is NOT always correlated with good results: see Oakland (over many decades of documented mismanagement of school district, despite high funding)

Anyone have an update?


Posted by Chris
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jan 13, 2022 at 8:37 am

Chris is a registered user.

I've gotten COVID twice now working at a Palo alto school. It is not "mild" to say the least.

Unless you've actually had COVID just shut up seriously reading your comments is so offensive


Posted by Kirsten Lakin
a resident of another community
on Jan 16, 2022 at 1:56 pm

Kirsten Lakin is a registered user.

Speaking as a Saratoga resident with a fourth grader, I have no problem with teachers calling in sick. Many have their own families to protect and they do not want to bring Omicron into their private lives via exposure from their workplace, in this case public schools.

Online education and further isolation are viable options to contain the coronavirus and I have no issue with keeping a child home from school as well.

Dr. Fauci has reportedly resigned himself from offering any optimistic end to COVID by simply stating that all of us are going to contract Omicron regardless of our vax status.

That said, mandatory face masks, further isolation and closure of non-essential businesses and public activities remain our best Covid-fighting allies along with vaccines...unless people want to be getting supplemental boosters into eternity.


Posted by Jennifer Tate
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 18, 2022 at 12:03 pm

Jennifer Tate is a registered user.

The unvaccinated are entitled to their beliefs but they should not be exacerbating an ongoing public health menace towards those who are taking personal responsibility via timely vaccinations and social distancing.

If anything, the outside activities of those who are unvaccinated should be limited and/or restricted to essential errands only.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Palo Alto Online sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

Peruvian restaurant Lima Ruby debuts in downtown Palo Alto
By The Peninsula Foodist | 1 comment | 2,834 views

What Do You Get Out of Being Stubborn?
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,732 views

My recommendations for Palo Alto City Council
By Diana Diamond | 0 comments | 951 views