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By Christina Wilson

With the rise of the newest COVID-19 variant Omicron in mid-December 2021, the New Hyde Park faculty and students have dealt with a vast amount of changes in the past month. In order to aid in the fight against COVID-19, the Sewanhaka Central High School District has recently supplied all students and faculty with Take-Home COVID-19 Testing Kits and gave faculty two KN95 face masks.

There has been speculation about what makes the Omicron variant so dangerous to anyone who gets it. According to a December Vox article, Omicron has up to 50 mutations detected compared to the original COVID-19 variant. Up to 36 of them are in the spike protein alone, making the variant able to infect cells more efficiently and have a higher rate of reproduction and transmission.

“From AP Biology with Ms. Gelber, I’ve learned how severe RNA viruses like COVID are. They are constantly changing due to more probable mutations, so it’s hard to make just one vaccine to target it,” junior Tessa Cherian said.

It is also in part that due to the rise of cases in relation to Omicron, New Hyde Park Memorial was closed for in-person teaching for a week after winter break. Students had to quickly assimilate back to remote learning.

“I absolutely feel that it was a good decision to keep school remote. I believe that if the school was open it would have been much worse,” junior Elizabeth George said.

As for research and observations, the severity of Omicron tends to differ among vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. As reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if an individual has taken a vaccine and a booster if applicable, they are less likely to need intensive care unit treatment.

“I think getting the booster is worth it. You can’t be too sure about anything anymore, so why not be safe?” sophomore Lily LeSchak said.

Source by Tina Torre

Students at NHP were supplied with Take-Home COVID tests after the holiday break.

Many feel that providing the test kits was a necessary decision on the district’s part.

“I was happy knowing that they were taking measures to make sure that every family has access to the tests. It reinforces the need to be careful because COVID isn’t over yet,” junior Ruth Solomon said.

With all of this taken to account, Nassau County has seen a decrease in the number of cases this past week. The daily average at the end of January was around 700 individuals and now around 450 individuals are infected. As COVID-19 continues, tests will be taken and changes will be made.

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