Covid allies with omicron variant


Students with and without masks

Marilyn Velasco, Reporter

COVID cases are on the rise with the Omicron variant that surfaced known as BA.2 and it may put students and families in danger, precautions are necessary again.

The new Omicron variant was identified in South Africa, Denmark and the United Kingdom. In the U.S there have been cases found in New York, California, Texas and Wisconsin according to NBC News. On Dec.14, the first official BA.2 case was found from travelers arriving from South Africa. 

“If students would wear a mask along with (social) distancing and being hygienic if mandatory it would be beneficial,” school nurse Lucia Menchaca said.

Precautions have been left to individuals since Governor Greg Abbott set an executive order making masks optional May 18,  2021. The district decided to comply with the governor’s choice to give students the option to wear them after June 5. However there’s an order that require people to wear masks in airports or any other transportation sites that has been extended to May 3. The mass transportation mask mandate was said to end April 18.

“It can only be encouraged right now but we try and recommend to students that they wear masks if not trying to get vaccinated,” Menchaca said.

The number of cases and deaths due to COVID are rising. As of April 20, there are  82,418,383 positive cases in the U.S. with 1,016,171 deaths. The total positive cases in Texas are 6,795,846 with 88,308 deaths. In El Paso there are 243,189 positive cases with a total of 3,420 deaths. The new variant has been found in about 8% of recent infections in the U.S.

Cases are continuously rising and with BA.2, it is highly contagious presenting a serious risk to the community.  Health experts believe that BA.2 cases will cause another outbreak in the U.S. as has already happened in the U.K according to

“We could do a better job with students being safe, however we can’t force anything. It would also be difficult to give each student a mask,” Menchaca said.

Generally one in eight who test are positive, and about 1 in 246 die. Precautions are necessary but remain a recommendation. It’s highly contagious and likely to cause another wave of infections.

“We should follow health care professionals recommendations and I think it shouldn’t be a political thing. I think that depending on the place they should know if they want or need to wear a mask,” Principal Antonio Acuna said.