The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC


New strain emerges

The Coronavirus pandemic of 2020 undoubtedly impacted the entire world, from forcing millions to stay confined in their homes to significantly altering the economy on a world wide scale, the 2020 pandemic left the lives of many people permanently transformed. The devastation and ramifications experienced due to the previous wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an immense amount of apprehension and public disquiet surrounding the new strain of COVID-19.  

The new coronavirus variant, BA.2.86, is already resulting in many United States health professionals experiencing concern due to the uncertainty of if the strain contains higher levels of contagiousness than the previous Coronavirus cases of 2020. This strain has already earned the informal nickname “Pirola,” derived from the combination of Greek letters Pi and Rho. Pirola has a stupendous amount of more than 30 mutations.

The uneasiness of the American public surrounding the Pirola strain resulted in the cancellation of in-person learning for three varying school districts located in both Kentucky schools, as well as a South Texas school district.  

This is all due to the drastic decrease in both faculty and student attendance on account of COVID-19 and other illnesses. Scott Lockard, public health director for the Kentucky River District Health Department informed the public that, “There was a lot of illness in the county, and the absentee rate got up to the level where the school system felt it justified closing.” 

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While the closure of in-person learning in both Kentucky school districts may be considered only temporary for the time being, it forces many staff and students to revisit the school closures of 2020 that were also deemed as temporary, but for many, lasted for over a year and forced permanent transformations on both the public and private school systems.  

The Runge Independent School District in South Texas, serves a small community of 195 students. With a limited number of only 43 staff members, the district’s online COVID-19 tracker states that 10 staff members have tested positive for the Coronavirus. With a little under a fourth of the school district’s faculty contracting COVID-19,  it left the district with no choice other than to temporarily cancel all in-person learning until there are enough healthy faculty and staff to proceed with classes as normal. 

With the coronavirus being so fluid and rapidly changing, students with concerns on staying up to date are encouraged to visit the websites of the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC) or World Health Organization (WHO) to stay up to date on all current coronavirus related information. 

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Taya Webb, Staff Writer

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