In Maryland, at least three schools announced they were closing their doors early after reporting a COVID-19 outbreak, while several schools in the District of Columbia area have also moved to online learning to contain an ongoing outbreak. A few states away, in New York City, the Department of Education has shuttered over 800 classrooms amid a mass surge of COVID-19 cases in the area.
School officials in Missouri have also been forced to start the holiday season early, a grim combination of both COVID-19 exposures and an ongoing battle with the state’s attorney general over pandemic mitigation measures.
“It’s already ramping back up,” Michael Allgood, a high-school teacher in Hannibal, Missouri, told The Daily Beast. “I can easily teach virtually through Google meets and Zoom though, so it is what it is.”
The stated reason for the mass closures, which echo waves of school closures earlier in the pandemic, vary by jurisdiction. And schools closed early and often this same academic year in states like Mississippi, where vaccination rates are low.