SMC COVID-19 Surge Unrests Everest, Admin Tells: ‘Avoid Complacency’

Student at EPHS wearing a mask

By Eastersun Digo

Staff Editor

 

REDWOOD CITY – SMC COVID cases soar and this raises worry about the safety of learners in Redwood City, San Mateo.

Ever since the rigorous vaccination efforts of the San Mateo County Health Department (SMCH) began, the weekly mean of COVID cases in the county has gone down. However, this week, SMCH saw an increase in the weekly average of COVID-19 cases in San Mateo. Cases hiked from 47 to 85 cases weekly with 276 cases recorded Monday, December 6, 2021.

Daira Ramirez, the Dean of Operations at Everest Public High School (EPHS), said in a recorded interview on Friday, December 3, 2021, that the school is doing everything in its power to control COVID-19 by randomly testing its students, faculty, and staff on a weekly schedule.

When asked to disclose statistical data on COVID testing at school, however, Ramirez said it has to be kept confidential.

EPHS mandates students and teachers to wear a mask at all times when inside the building. All classrooms only hold less than 25 students and a stand-by air ionizing purifier is also inside. Additionally, the school confidentially records the vaccination status of its faculty and learners.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on Wednesday, December 1, 2021, confirmed the detection of the first Omicron case in the Bay Area. Fauci, in their press release, said to ‘brace for Omicron surge’ in the State of California and the country.

With this in mind, Daira Ramirez said the school will leave the strictness of COVID protocols at school to the health authorities should Omicron soar across the county.

Dean Ramirez further reminds everyone at Everest to avoid complacency against the disease by wearing a mask indoors, receiving their vaccine shot, and getting tested when they show symptoms of the disease to help maintain the safety inside the school.

JJ Christensen, 16, a junior high school student at Everest finds the recent statistics in San Mateo ‘worrying’ but also ‘okay’ since students in their school wear face coverings at all times and the population of the said institution is well-distributed in classrooms anyway.

Meanwhile, an email blasted by the school to its students and parents reveals that the Winter break begins Monday, December 20th to Monday, January 3rd of 2022.

Jimmy Zuniga, the Executive Director of EPHS, says the school is offering one (1) free testing kit for students to use at home during the winter, adding an extra layer of assurance before coming back to school in January after a long and festive holiday.

Zuniga details that the front desk is open for those interested to claim their COVID-19 at-home testing kit.

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