Some schools hit hard by virus make few changes for new year

FILE - Kindergarten teacher Karen Drolet, left, works with a student at Raices Dual Language Academy, a public school in Central Falls, R.I., Feb. 9, 2022. As a new school year approaches, COVID-19 infections are again on the rise, fueled by highly transmissible variants, filling families with dread. They fear the return of a pandemic scourge: outbreaks that sideline large numbers of teachers, close school buildings and force students back into remote learning. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

As a new school year approaches, COVID-19 infections are again on the rise, fueled by highly transmissible variants, filling families with dread. They fear the return of a pandemic scourge: outbreaks that sideline large numbers of teachers, close school buildings and force students back into remote learning.

Some school systems around the country have moved to bolster staffing to minimize disruptions, but many are hoping for the best without doing much else differently compared with last year.

Even some of the districts that had the most disruptions to in-person schooling amid the spread of the highly contagious omicron variant point to few specific changes in their prevention efforts.

Among them is Baltimore County schools, where the number of days that individual schools in the district couldn't offer in-person learning added together totaled 159 in January, according to data from the private research firm Burbio, which tracks over 5,000 school districts nationwide.