Record Wave of U.S. Omicron School Closures Is Set to Abate
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. school closures reached a record high for the academic year last week as omicron-fueled coronavirus cases caused staff shortages and disrupted classes, but the shutdowns are about to ease as more schools are set to reopen in-person.
At least 5,409 schools had canceled class or switched to virtual learning as of the end of last week, more than triple the count at the end of December, according to data from Burbio, which tracks closures.
The closures are concentrated in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions, as well as Chicago, where a labor dispute has led to hundreds of closures. Over the weekend, Chicago Public Schools said classrooms would be closed Monday for the fourth-straight academic day after the system failed to reach a deal with the local teachers’ union over demands for more measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Baltimore City Public Schools on Monday announced roughly 60 schools would move to remote instruction because of staff or testing shortages.
However, many districts are slated to begin shifting back to in-person this week. About 1,338 schools planned to be closed Monday, compared to over 3,600 on Friday, according to Burbio’s count, though Monday’s tally doesn’t include Chicago.
©2022 Bloomberg L.P.