Bring back mandatory COVID testing

COVID+stats+of+the+winnetka+campus+on+the+New+Trier+dashboard

NT Website

COVID stats of the winnetka campus on the New Trier dashboard

Last week, on Jan. 10, positive Covid-19 cases plummeted to 107 total, 31 of which are new cases. With many of the positive students from last week returning to school, all has seemingly returned to controllable levels. This comfort is welcomed, but paper-thin.

In early January, COVID-19 cases throughout the US surged due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant. Upon our return from break during the week of Jan. 3, the entire school was tested for the virus. Each day the cases steadily increased. By the end of the week, we had tested 4,083 students and teachers and detected 371 positive cases: a record breaking positivity rate of nine percent.

The following week the administration decided that during the height of the pandemic’s largest surge, we did not need to do mandatory testing. Instead, we only needed testing for students in sports and specific extracurriculars. As a result, only 1,357 students tested and with only 57 positive cases. The only reason that cases sharply declined at New Trier was because of the sharp decline in testing. There are likely scores of positive cases walking our halls that may further prolong this never ending pandemic.

There are likely scores of positive cases walking through our halls that may further prolong this never ending pandemic”

During the shortened week of Jan. 17, an even fewer 844 Trevians tested .Our school’s average positive rate of over 4.07% the last two weeks suggests that we should have nearly 34 positive cases. If the untested 3,239 Trevians were to test, we would most likely result in 131 more positive cases.

During the same week in Illinois, positive cases dipped slightly from 29,000 average daily cases to 26,000. In Cook County, we had a slight decrease as well from 11,000 to 8,000. While it appears that the surge is dipping in our area, the dips are not nearly as drastic as the New Trier testing implies.

The decrease in testing at New Trier is not only irresponsible, but remarkably dangerous. Why would it be a good idea to decrease testing during the height of the pandemic? This action has created false confidence among our students, teaching them to accept the false truth that the COVID-19 surge is over.