Thousands of San Antonio teachers and school employees called in sick Monday

SAN ANTONIO – Thousands of students in the San Antonio area returned to school today. But at least one local school delayed the start of the new semester. Central Catholic is extending winter break until at least the middle of the week due to Covid concerns.

“Let’s try to take the fuel away from this wildfire as best we can and let’s delay at minimal, school until Wednesday,” explains Central Catholic interim president Jason Longoria.

“It’s just an abundance of caution and seeing how the tides are going right now across the city, state and nation.”

With the spike from Omicron triggering more uncertainty locally, Central Catholic implemented a short pause after guidance from its Covid task force.

“You’re just seeing cases skyrocket,” Longoria says. “Having that small atmosphere allows us to be a little bit nimble and do that.”

Parents we talked to today are happy with the decision.

“I trust Central Catholic. They’ve been taking care of the kids for the last two years and taking every precaution,” says Mary Pietrazek, who has one child at CC and two more in Northside ISD, which resumed classes today.

All three of her kids are staying home both today and tomorrow.

“I don’t think it would surprise me if more people kept their kids home out of an abundance of caution for the first few days,” Pietrazek says.

“It is very concerning. There’s been a lot of lax on the students wearing masks.”

Northside had 1,260 staff and teachers absent today, including over 900 that required substitutes.

North East ISD reported 700 staff absences – with 400 teachers out for either family illness or personal reasons. The student attendance rate today was just 85.3 percent.

Could a return to hybrid or even all-virtual learning be on the table?

NISD and NEISD say it’s not being considered at this point. At Central Catholic, it could be a possiblity if conditions worsen.

“Everything is an option at this point,” Longoria says, including pushing back even further the start of the new semester.

Written by Jim Lefko

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