Omicron Forces Schedule Changes


Josue Martinez

Due to the spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, Pritzker College Prep modified it’s January schedule

As Omicron continues to ravage the U.S. and Chicago, Noble Network and Pritzker College Prep have decided to make a shift in scheduling for students. Before this adjustment, the school day took place from 8:05 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Starting Jan. 4, underclassmen and upperclassmen will be dismissed at 1:18 and 1:20, respectively. To add on, some notable changes are students will receive a snack to eat in third period. Students will no longer be eating lunch in the cafeteria. Because of these changes, they can now grab lunch on their way out of school for the rest of January.

Additionally, after-school activities will still resume as normal. Students should check in with their coach or club sponsor for changes to their respective schedules. Study hall will still be an option for students.
Sophomore history teacher Mr. Bryan Williams reacted to the new schedule by saying, “I see the value in kids being in school because we saw what online learning looked like last year and how many kids were doing the work and not doing the work, but it is also important to note and look at the current trend of those who are becoming infected. And the cases are rising exponentially. And you know it’s becoming a very clear and present threat when you are in a room with 30 kids who might not be wearing their masks properly the whole time.“

Noble added a new mask policy now requiring students to wear a 3-ply surgical mask: N95, KN95, KF94, or similar. Cloth masks will no longer be permitted unless they are worn over surgical masks. Thankfully, Noble Network is supplying different campuses with 127,500 3 -ply surgical masks.

Students and parents must know that the schedule changes are temporary and, as of the time this article is published, are only expected to last until the end of January. After more information is gathered on the Omicron variant and the surge that is occurring, a decision will be made on whether the schedule changes should stay in place.

Mr. Nathan Dengle, a freshman physics teacher at Pritzker College Prep, decided to weigh in by saying, “The schedule change is our best adaptation to challenging circumstances. It does entail some difficult tradeoffs, but it will allow students to continue in-person learning.“

Many teachers across the country are questioning whether schools should still be in-person or not. One teacher at Pritzker, who preferred to stay anonymous, responded by stating, “Is it more ethical to be data-driven or data-informed when making medical decisions that could impact people’s lives? Should you try to make your decisions regardless of whether they impact your mission, or should you not look at the data through the lens of what you want to accomplish?” Anonymous finished by explaining, “I won’t comment on whether it’s a good decision or not because I don’t know enough about public health. But I will say that it does raise interesting questions on whether we should trust what non-scientists are saying about what scientists are saying. And whether we should even trust science when these studies are barely coming out. Often they contradict each other– there are gaps, and often they are not peer-reviewed.“

Editor’s note: In reference to the last anonymous quote used in the article– The speaker was referring to scientific studies that state it is currently safe to be in school.