With high schools and universities around the country transitioning to a virtual or hybrid option, Princeton needs to be the next. The district must offer a temporary asynchronous option for students who want to stay safe in their learning amid a raging pandemic.
Why is this important?
As of December 31, Mercer County had 1,199 new positive cases (NYT), with our highest total thus far of weekly cases, 125, happening December 22-28 (Princeton Gov't). This number has increased exponentially from only a few weeks ago, due to the Omicron variant, unsafe vacations, and cold weather's negative effect on immune systems (Harvard). Over one-third of inpatient beds at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital are used by confirmed or suspected COVID patients (Patch). The state total of new student cases is at 7,716 (NJ Gov't). Testing at local centers has been overwhelmed by the number of Princetonians who are exposed to the virus. Forcing us to decide between skipping school or exposing ourselves to COVID is something the district should not pose to us. As students, we should feel comfortable in our learning environment, rather than worrying about a virus threatening our livelihood.