CCSD tells teachers to ‘open doors to outside’ for improving ventilation, causing security concerns

Teachers are prepping their classrooms to welcome students in less than two weeks.
Published: Jul. 26, 2022 at 7:17 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Teachers are prepping their classrooms to welcome students in less than two weeks. As such, Clark County School District is advising staff on best practices for keeping classrooms safe from COVID-19 during high community levels.

The district sent an email to staff Monday recommending that they increase ventilation and airflow in their classrooms. They said to “open doors to outside.” They also said events should take place outside whenever possible during high community spread.

Teachers wonder if this will lead to secure classrooms and buildings, however.

“In light of everything that has happened in terms of school safety, especially what happened in Uvalde, that seems kind of ironic to have that. Especially when we’re trying to lock down schools even more,” said Ryan Fromoltz, a CCSD high school teacher.

After all, the shooter in Uvalde was able to get into the school through a series of unlocked doors.

When FOX5 asked CCSD Police Department about this recommendation, spokesperson Lieutenant Bryan Zink told us he wasn’t clear on what the district meant by “[opening] doors to outside,” but said he is working on getting more details. He added that he is guessing they meant interior doors, rather than exterior doors.

Speaking of exterior doors, Superintendent Jesus Jara said they’re working “fast and furiously” on creating a single point of entry on select campuses.

“The big high schools right? There are plenty of points of entry, right? So when we assessed all of our schools during COVID, and maybe even a little bit before COVID, we have a list of schools that have too many entrances,” said Jara in a press conference over the summer.

Jhone Ebert, Nevada’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, told FOX5, “We’re also practicing in case of an emergency with local law enforcement.”

She said they have been working diligently to ensure “that the hardening of the buildings are in place.”

So the million dollar question: without compromising security, how can airflow be improved in classrooms?

Clark County School District received $777 million dollars due to the ESSER American Rescue Plan funds, which can be used for ventilation and filtration upgrades.

CCSD did install ionization air purifier systems last fall, but only in nurses’ offices and isolation rooms.

Still, some teachers told us they wish the focus could also be in classrooms.

“The air purifier in my classroom, I purchased myself,” Vicki Kreidel, a teacher at the district, told FOX5.

“We would all individually have to do our own donor’s choose to earn that money,” said Rebecca Kennard, another teacher at the district. “I don’t see where the disconnect is, where they can’t actually implement these items into our classrooms.”

The request was echoed by John Vellardita, the Executive Director of the Teachers Union Clark County Education Association, who said his wish for those federal funds is “for the district to be able to apply those resources to help, ya know, say, the ventilation system in some of these classrooms.”

Lt. Zink said all doors would of course be secured if a lockdown or shelter in place was called.

CCSD Media Relations said they cannot disclose details of the progress of their security enhancement work, like campus entrance consolidation, due to fears that those with ill intentions would use the information to their advantage and cause harm.