LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Amid the COVID-19 surge shuttering Clark County schools for five days, the district is moving forward with a new plan. When students return on Wednesday, the "test to stay" program will be in place.

“'Test to stay’ is exactly how it sounds. It is for students and employees. It’s a volunteer program that if they have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the school setting, it is extremely strict criteria,” said Dr. Monica Cortez, an assistant superintendent at CCSD at Thursday night’s Board of Trustees meeting.

For test to stay, the exposure must have been in a school setting. When notified of exposure, a student must test before returning to school and a teacher must test within 24 hours.

They can stay on campus if they remain negative and asymptomatic. If they test positive or develop symptoms, they must go home and isolate for five days. Those in test to stay must test every other day for a week and cannot participate in after school activities or sports.

The program is voluntary. If a student or teacher refuses to participate, they will have to go into quarantine at home for five days. 

“The intention is really to ensure that we keep our students in person and that they are receiving their instruction,” Cortez said.

The district maintains that its goal is to keep schools open amid this latest surge but teachers who spoke at Thursday night’s meeting insisted they are not doing enough.

“We are exhausted from shouldering the burden of the teacher shortage … and subbing on our preps. We feel defeated,” said teacher Kelly Edgar.

“One of my coworkers had five family members that had COVID and she was exposed to them but she doesn’t get to get tested. She has to go out and search and wait seven hours. I almost walked out five times this year because I don’t feel safe,” stated Autumn Tampa, another teacher.  

Meanwhile, parents and students expressed their fears the five day pause could be the beginning of another shutdown.

“My math teacher said that he expects schools to be closed in two weeks … it is my turn to do a senior project. I am really excited for my senior project but if we are thrown online, I won’t be able to do it,” said high school senior Xavier Gonzales.

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“My son who is in fifth grade teared up the other day … he heard that we were taking a five day pause he said, ‘Mom, I don’t want to lose the rest of my fifth grade year.’ He’s looking forward to finishing,” said Erin Philips.

More than 3,600 COVID-19 positive cases have been reported in CCSD since students came back from winter break. Leadership said the five-day break was due to an extreme staff shortage.

Leadership said they are prepared for mass testing when staff and students return. 

“At this time, we do have enough rapid tests. We have enough rapid tests on their way ... we actually put in an order, our Chief Nurse and myself, anticipating this on Christmas Eve,” said Cortez.  

The district has been swamped processing cases.

As of Thursday, there have been 8,434 parent calls and 4,300 employee calls to the CCSD COVID-19 reporting line since 10AM Saturday.

Cortez said it's all hands on deck. More than 250 staff members are working from 5 a.m. until late at night each day and will work through the weekend to clear the backlog. 

Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara also made it clear that his goal is to keep schools open.

“In conversations with the governor’s office, that’s really around this work, this is not a closure of our schools … so the two instructional days will be made up,” Jara said.  

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(2) comments

george strong

As Pink Floyd said, "Leave those kids alone!" All the CRT-loving garbage-people at CCSD belong in prison or just fired for cause.

Nevermore

This is ridiculous. The program is voluntary, but you are punished if you don't volunteer.

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