MILPITAS, Calif. (KRON) – “We have lots of asymptomatic probably inconsequential cases out there–identifying them and pushing large numbers of asymptomatic students and teachers into quarantine is really probably misguided.”

School districts across the area are trying to deal with rising COVID cases among students and staff.

Milpitas Unified School District says they had 167 substitute teacher positions unfilled this week.

Now they are placing all schools on a district-wide quarantine. They will go back to virtual learning until January 18th.

School leaders put the quarantine in place after they said “an exorbitant number of positive student and staff cases.”

But the director of COVID response for the UCSF emergency department, Dr. Jeanne Noble says moving to virtual learning may not be the best move.

“I think it’s unwarranted from a safety and medical point of view,” Dr. Noble said.

She says we are no longer in a pre-vaccination era, so it’s easier to protect kids and that schools are usually very safe.

“We knew that schools were, in retrospect, it looks very much like schools were the safest place for kids pre-vaccination. That certainly remains the case post-vaccination,” Dr. Noble said.

In an email sent out by MUSD’s office of superintendent, it says all the positive cases have led to even more students and staff quarantining because of close contact but Dr. Noble says it may not make sense to test people who are asymptomatic.

“We are doing asymptomatic testing and pushing a lot of kids into quarantine and really virtually increasing the panic in schools,” Dr. Noble said. “It’s really not clear that an asymptomatic masked student going to school is going to spread covid to anyone.”

Dr. Noble says that in-person school can sometimes help prevent COVID.

“We have pretty good data that kids that participated in in-person learning in 2020 were less likely to test positive for covid than kids that were in distance learning and that’s just because kids don’t go home and stay home in their bedroom. They’re out in the community generally unsupervised,” Dr. Noble said.

She says when students are in school, they should continue taking precautions to prevent spread.

She also encourages everyone that can, to get vaccinated.