The Delta Variant and Opening Schools

Will the Delta variant affect the reopening of Kinnelon schools?


Max Schmalz

Hallway at KHS

As the 2021-2022 school year creeps up on us, so does the new Delta variant of the coronavirus. This highly transmissible variant of the virus is spreading much faster than other Covid-19 strains. This begs the question of what schools will be like in the fall, if the variant continues to spread rapidly.

According to Microsoft News, Covid-19 cases in New Jersey have quadrupled in the last month. The Delta variant spreads 50 percent more quickly than the common alpha variant. Additionally, the CDC says vaccinated people are also being infected by the Delta variant and can pass the virus to others, unlike they had previously thought. 

Additionally, COVID-19 pediatric hospitalizations are on the rise, particularly in the South. NBC News says that health officials in Mississippi have children in the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) and some on ventilators because of the variant. With the school year coming close to a start, children are at a high risk for contracting COVID.

The CDC recently announced new guidelines that vaccinated people should wear masks indoors. As much as schools would like to fully reopen without the use of masks, as of July 27, the CDC changed their recommendations that all grade students, teachers, and staff be masked, regardless of their vaccination status, during the 2021-2022 school year.

Superintendent Diane DiGiuseppe of Kinnelon Public Schools, states that as of now, Kinnelon Public Schools plan on opening fully in-person this September. It is still hard to identify exactly how school will be operating this year, as the coronavirus continues to throw us new challenges. DiGiusesppe added that with the CDC’s recommendation, it may lead to the Department of Education and the Department of Health requiring masks, although she does not know at this time. On August 6th, Governor Murphy confirmed that masking will now be mandatory for everyone inside school buildings. DiGiuseppe was not available for comment on this at this time.

The increase in the Delta variant and its severity, especially among children, has become a great concern to many. Kinnelon Schools will be opening quite soon, and they are still planning to open fully in-person. With that being said, masks will now be in use as a precautionary measure to keep children safe and healthy in our community.