LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- The Clark County School District announced they will close all schools on Friday and Tuesday due to staffing shortages.
The closure comes amid a surge of cases among students and educators. As of Tuesday, the district has reported more than 10,500 total COVID-19 cases since July, including nearly 7,000 students and 3,000 staffers. Of the total number, 2,272 have been reported this month.
That means roughly 22% of all reported cases since summer, are from January 1-10.
School was already scheduled to close Monday for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday, making the closure five days long.
CCSD provided the following information:
Due to the extreme staffing shortages based on the high number of positive COVID-19 cases, the District is adjusting the 2021-2022 District calendar to provide a five-day pause in alignment with the COVID-19 Quarantine and Isolation Guidance. This five-day pause will promote a safe, healthy learning environment in our schools to “Stop the Spread” in order to continue face-to-face instruction.
Components of the Five-Day Pause
The District will adjust the 2021-2022 District calendar as follows:
Friday, January 14, 2022
- Staff development day
- All staff are required to work from home
- No school for students
Tuesday, January 18, 2022
- Contingency day
- All staff assigned to work are required to work from home.
- No school for students
The five-day pause will be most effective if all staff work from home.
These calendar changes will align with existing procedures and policies regarding pay for contingency days. Based on these changes, the following adjustments will be made to the 2021-2022 District calendar to provide a five-day pause:
Monday, February 7, 2022
- Full day of instruction
- Previously a contingency day
Monday, April 25, 2022
- Full day of instruction
- Previously a staff development day
All athletics, before- and after-school activities, Safekey, field trips, athletic practices, and athletic travel are canceled from January 14, 2022, through January 18, 2022.
Employees and students will return to work and regular in-person instruction on Wednesday, January 19, 2022.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said Tuesday his goal was to keep schools open.
"Sadly, we are still dealing with the realities of a global pandemic. But 2022 will not be 2020. We now have the tools, the knowledge, and the resources to keep schools open safely and effectively. There is no going back," he said in part.
A CCSD teacher shared her response to the governor's messaging.
"What tools?" elementary teacher Vicki Kreidel said. "What tools have educators been given? I provide my own masks, the only thing I've been given is sanitizing spray and hand sanitizer. But the air purifier in my classroom, I purchased myself."
A high school teacher said she feels the five-day pause is a good idea.
"I think this is a smart move by CCSD, because it was only going to get worse to begin with," teacher Rebecca Kennard said. She said several students have been missing from her classes recently, which she suspects is due to COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Sisolak said he hopes the long weekend will allow the CCSD community to get healthy, and expects CCSD leadership to ensure students don't fall behind.
"Finally, I cannot stress the importance of getting vaccinated and boosted enough to those who are eligible. Vaccines provide incredible protection against severe cases of COVID-19, hospitalization, and death. To those who have not yet done so, I hope this window of time will provide the opportunity to visit a COVID-19 vaccine clinic. Clinics are up and running across the State and can be found at NVCOVIDFighter.org," he said. "To all those in our communities who have already gotten their vaccine, their boosters and continue to wear their masks, thank you. When we all do our part, we help protect ourselves, our families, our friends, our communities, our economies and our schools.”
“For us, I’m lucky enough to be home with her," said Rowe Elementary School parent Kathleen Stillings. "But for other families, I don’t know how they would navigate it, being those extra days, in fact, I’ll probably volunteer and ask other parents she goes to school with if they need help."
Her daughter said she is looking forward to the break.
"I think it’s nice for me because I get to sleep in," said Emma Billey.
NEVADA LEARNING ACADEMY
Families of Nevada Learning Academy were initially uncertain if the closure would affect their families.
For this Friday, NVLA staff will meet virtually for a staff development day.
Next Tuesday is a scheduled contingency day for all licensed teachers and nine-month staff, so NVLA will not hold any online classes that day.
FOR HENDERSON FAMILIES
The City of Henderson is offering its Battle Born Kids (ages 5-11) and teens (ages 12-14) programs to assist working parents during CCSD’s five-day pause.
The all-day program is held from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. with early arrival and extended stay options available. "The program entertains and enriches youth via a variety of supervised, interactive activities," a representative for the city said.
Programs are available Jan. 14, 17 and 18. The cost is $27 per day per child.
For full details or to register, click here.
FOR CITY OF NORTH LAS VEGAS EMPLOYEES
To help our staff continue serving the public without worrying about childcare issues resulting from school closures, we are offering childcare services to City of North Las Vegas employees, along with first responders and medical personnel from across the valley.
This childcare service will be available at Neighborhood Recreation Center Friday, January 14 and Tuesday, January 18 from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. for the City staff members, valley first responders and medical personnel who are assigned to work on those two days.