STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) — More Stockton Unified School District students and staff tested positive for COVID-19 this week, but the district said numbers are finally starting to drop. 

Elizabeth Mayberry has three children in SUSD. She said she feels like she has received district notices of positive cases and exposures almost every day since winter break. 

“I feel like from what I’ve heard anecdotally from my kids, they’ve been exposed a lot more,” Mayberry said. “Every day it’s who was absent, who wasn’t there, who, you know, whatever the rumors are about who’s sick.”

SUSD saw a rise in cases among teachers, staff and students because of the highly contagious omicron variant. Positivity rates in the district have risen to 6.17%. 

“We do notice a spike and we have communicated with our families about that. But we could also say now the numbers are starting to come down. So that’s good news,” said spokeswoman Melinda Meza. 

Meza said the wave of COVID-19 cases reflects San Joaquin County’s community-based transmission rates.

The district sent a notice to families this week alerting them to a change in quarantine guidelines from the state regarding exposures.

“If they’re able to test negative three to five days later, then, of course, they come off quarantine. Now, if they test positive still, then of course they stay on quarantine. And that’s just a way to try to minimize the exposure, minimize the risk of contacting COVID,” Meza said. 

The letter was also a reminder to families to self-check for symptoms daily before going to campus or participating in school activities. 

Principals and school administrators have also had to step back into the classroom because of the substitute teacher shortage. 

“My daughter’s teacher has been out for a few days and they had the principal come in for a little bit. And there were some aides that came in, then someone she didn’t know,” Mayberry said. 

Mayberry said having differing teachers in and out of the classroom is not ideal but it is better than distanced learning. 

“Think they’re getting more learning than they would get at home. I think parents are getting more work and sanity with kids in school,” Mayberry said. 

“We plan on keeping our schools open. We plan on providing that learning environment for students. We’re just doing our best to keep teachers and staff and students healthy,” Meza said.