MISD Response to Omicron Surge


Hannah Howison

Students practice social distancing in the Commons.

Kyle Gerstel, Staff Writer

The following article summarizes the Mercer Island School District administration’s public statements throughout early January regarding the Omicron surge.

In response to a record-high number of children hospitalized for COVID-19, Mercer Island School District administrators have decided to expand the school week to six days. This decision follows school closures, testing requirements and vaccine mandates across the nation.

“As COVID-19 cases rise, we believe it is vital to pack in all the learning we can,” Superintendent Boloskee said. “While our strategy to prevent the spread of Omicron isn’t particularly conventional, the only way to conquer the uncertainty of the future is to not concern ourselves with it.”

This view is shared by IMS co-principals Barry Bo Grudzius and Aarón Filler. “We have assessed data from our district’s history and it seems there are always far more parental complaints about school closures than health concerns,” Grudzius and Filler said in unison. 

“The consequences of maintaining a five-day school week are simply too dangerous for the emotional health of our primary stakeholders,” Island Park principal Daveed Coffin said. “Those stakeholders being administrators.”

However, these changes are not popular among MISD students. Over the last few days, students have protested outside IMS to call out the administrators for pandering to parents rather than doing what’s best for the health of staff, students and their families.

“What will they do if cases continue rising?” eighth grader Enjolras Everdeen said between breaths as he led the picketers in an “Aarón Hospital-Filler” chant. “Will we start going to school seven days a week? Where can we go from there?”

Luckily, the district has a plan. “If COVID-19 cases continue rising, the district will move to a boarding school model in which students are required to sleep in their respective school’s gymnasium,” MIHS Principal Waldorf Belly said. “However, this is not to be confused with a bubble model, as we’ll allow students to leave the campus from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. to avoid meddling with the truants.”

Students, if you are concerned about potential COVID-19 exposure from these changes but fear unexcused absences stacking up, not to worry: the district administration is offering streaming services for qualifying students. The only requirements are having an immunosuppressed family member, testing positive five subsequent times and being dead.