FTIS sees unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases following return from Winter Break


(Courtesy of the FTIS Healthy at School website)

Image of the FTIS Healthy at School website logo.

     As of Friday morning, January 7, 112 active COVID-19 cases have been reported in the Fort Thomas Independent Schools district. This surge has appeared because of the new variant, Omicron.  This represented the highest number of cases districtwide since the pandemic began in March 2020. 

     Along with this, on Friday, January 7, 2022, a total of 16,126 COVID-19 cases have been reported in Campbell County, according to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

      COVID-19 cases are expected to rise because of the transmissible nature of Omicron and with school districts, such as FTIS, going mask optional. 

     Due to this masking change, some parents have had concerns about the safety of their children.  Local 12 recently posted an article about those concerns.  

     “It seems like a contradiction to make masking optional when cases in the community are on the rise, but the superintendent’s reasoning for the change isn’t based on the numbers, rather that there is now a vaccine available for all their students,” according to the article. 

     Vaccines can help stop the spread of COVID-19 but with the new variant of the virus, it might not work.

     “CDC expects that anyone with Omicron infection can spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or don’t have symptoms. CDC continues to recommend wearing a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high community transmission, regardless of vaccination status.” according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC)

     Due to COVID-19, many things, such as town gatherings and meetings, have been taken away from the Fort Thomas community. 

     “I think COVID-19 is something that has taken a lot of opportunities out of people’s lives, especially those that aren’t financially the best. I think it’s going to take out something from the newer generations,” said Senior Lance Borden.

     FTIS Superintendent Brian Robinson noted that the impacts are being seen in both the schools and the community. 

     “We are seeing the impact to our students and staff similarly to what we are seeing in the community,” said Robinson.

     Robinson said that mitigation techniques are important to follow. 

     “It is important for everyone to be diligent in sanitation and handwashing [and] increase distancing. We recommend testing and masking if in close contact with a positive case and remaining home if any symptoms arise until a negative test is provided. It is also important that students remain home if there is a household positive until given clearance by our nurses,” said Robinson.

     Students and community members should continue to look out for symptoms of COVID-19 such as body aches, sore throat, nausea, paleness, fever, chills, difficulty breathing, and lack of taste and smell.

     “We are collecting data each and every day and are still seeing the impact of those who became positive over the break. It is very important that students take responsible measures to limit exposure in hopes that the prediction models suggesting a peak in mid-late January are correct,” said Robinson.

     ‘The Hilltopper will continue to update over the next few weeks.