LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- On Wednesday, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak signed an emergency directive to require all K-12 students and staff in Clark and Washoe counties to wear masks in schools and on buses, regardless of vaccination status.
This new directive falls in line with guidance from the Center for Disease Control.
"It is recommended that all teachers, staff, students and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks inside school buildings to prevent transmission of the virus," the new directive states.
Because most school-aged children are not yet eligible for vaccination (anyone under the age of 12 is not yet eligible), the governor's office says variants of the virus are of great concern.
"Additional mitigation measures are needed to protect students, staff and school visitors," the directive states.
The guidance stands for all school children unless an exemption is granted for special circumstances within public, charter and private schools.
Sisolak's office worked in partnership with the Nevada Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services and local school leaders to develop the new policy.
"Regardless of the mask policy at a school, passengers and drivers must wear a mask on school buses. In counties with a population of 100,000 or greater, all kindergarten through 12th grade students in county school district, charter school and private school settings (regardless of whether they would be exempt from the face covering requirement based on their age) MUST wear face coverings while inside school buildings regardless of vaccination status unless granted an exemption. Exemptions for masking are outlined in Directive 048 and accompanying guidance. This applies to Clark County and Washoe County."
The Clark County School District on Wednesday sent information to parents explaining the new directive.
FOR SMALLER COUNTIES -- POPULATION LESS THAN 100,000
"Each county school district, charter school, and private school shall adopt a face covering policy that addresses
whether or under what circumstances face coverings will be required for students while inside school buildings,
or on school campuses. Any such policy may be more stringent than this and any other applicable State or local
health directives, but may not be more permissive."
WHAT ABOUT AN OUTBREAK?
If a school-wide outbreak of COVID-19 occurs within other school districts, the governor's office says a "universal face covering policy" will be implemented for all students where the outbreak occurred until the issue is resolved by local health authorities.
The state defines an "outbreak" as cases identified beyond one classroom or isolated setting.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, social distancing in the classroom in 2021-22 school year, will be very different from 2019-20. The state is prioritizing getting children into classes, rather than spacing them out.
"As Nevada schools make plans for full in-person learning during the 2021-22 school year, it is important to expect and plan for occurrences of COVID-19 within the school communities. In order to accomplish full in-person learning, limited social distancing measures will be in place, as compared to the 2020-21 school year. This reduction in mitigation, along with low vaccination rates, and the emergence of Variants of Concern which have higher transmission rates, make the implementation of other mitigation measures, such as mask use, even more important."
TESTING FOR TRAVELERS
In the updated Roadmap to Recovery plan, the state recommended regular COVID-19 testing for all unvaccinated persons involved in school-related travel outside of their county.
"All county school districts, charter schools, and private schools, regardless of county transmission level, shall
implement a regular COVID-19 testing program for students and staff or volunteers, including but not limited to
coaches, leaders, and advisors, who are not fully vaccinated and who are involved in travelling to other schools
or venues outside of the county for athletics and activities such as games, tournaments, competitions, concerts,
meets, or similar events.
Testing must occur at least once per week. If a student, staff member, or volunteer tests positive for COVID-19,
current CDC recommendations for isolation and quarantine must be followed.
This applies to students, staff and volunteers involved in athletics activities. The Nevada Interscholastic
Activities Association (NIAA) must promulgate a mandatory COVID-19 testing and mitigation plan for full-contact
and close-contact sports. The plan MUST require at a minimum weekly testing of coaches, staff and athletes
participating in these sports who are not fully vaccinated. The plan must include rules and guidance for the use
of face coverings by student athletes while both actively and not actively participating in the sporting activity.
o Prior to the commencement of competitions of full-contact and close-contact sports between separate
schools, the individual schools must implement the NIAA testing and mitigation plan and begin the
weekly testing protocols required by such."
medically fragile students with "an existing Individualized Education Program" or health plan
- medical or disability-related issues as documented by a medical professional
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.