Omicron in the Vail Valley

Jason Sherpa

 

The new Omicron variant of Covid-19 was the main culprit behind the massive surge of reported Covid cases during Winter Break , “Omicron is here for sure with last week’s surge in Eagle County probably a signal,” said Jon Samet in Late December (ColoradoPolitics.com). Omicron is a new variant of Covid-19 that originated in South Africa, and it spreads much quicker than past variants (CDC).  

With Eagle Counties daily cases spiking up well above one hundred per day in late December and early January, Vail health have had large numbers of people coming to them ““It’s absolutely driving it, because the rapid increase in acceleration is like nothing we have ever seen, really,” Lindley said.” (AspenTimes.com).

With this in mind I can’t help but ask how VMS reacted? To answer these questions I interviewed Maggie Pavlik, the director of VMS Upper School. Here is the summary of what Mrs. Pavlik said, now that Covid-19 has moved from a pandemic where the world and VMS was in a state of emergency and everything was very new, to an Endemic where Covid-19 has just become a part of our lives just like the seasonal flu. VMS is just going to have to adapt to the virus since Covid will likely never go away, instead of shutting down the school like when Covid-19 was a pandemic in spring of 2020. VMS closely follows Eagle Country Health to make their decisions and has looked at the transmission rates from other schools in the Valley that have removed their mask policy. During January VMS was in danger of closing for a week or more since many teachers were out due to the virus and there were not enough substitute teachers in the valley that were willing to come work. VMS had to take certain precautions to lower transmission rates but now that VMS is better adjusted to the virus they can use past trends to predict the future.  The surge of cases during winter break was only a fast spike; the daily cases in the Eagle Valley dropped very quickly and are now quite low. After taking all of this into consideration VMS has made masks optional for the time being, but Covid is not over yet and VMS will likely need to react again to future virus transmission surges, but for now Virus transmissions are low, vaccine status is high, and we are in a much better place than we were in early January.