LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- It has now been more than four months since a staff COVID-19 vaccine mandate passed at Clark County School District, but the mandate is still yet to be implemented or discussed by district leaders, even in the midst of an omicron variant surge, and a return to classrooms post-winter break.

FOX5 is now learning more about the action, or inaction, from district leaders after the early September decision.

A local teachers union leader said the district is not responding to their December email which lists their union's preferred stipulations regarding the mandate.

John Vellardita, executive director of the teachers union Clark County Education Association, said Tuesday that he feels district leaders need to urgently address the mandate they passed but never followed up on. He said he feels teachers, as well as the community, urgently deserve both transparency and action on this.

"The district passed a vaccine mandate for all staff. It hasn't come to fruition," said Vellardita. "You can't keep ducking it. You don't pass something three months ago and not complete it ... You have 300,000 kids coming into these classrooms, and it's a confined space, and the variant is an airborne transmission, right? And so what I think is an issue before the school board is the vaccine. Are you gonna complete what you started?"

Board member and former president Linda Cavazos said Wednesday that the trustees have not received any additional updates regarding the timeline for the vaccine mandate.

"Superintendent [Jesus] Jara or his staff designee" would be responsible for providing this update to trustees, she said. 

"CCSD is evaluating our options through continued discussions with the bargaining units," said Tod Story, Jara's chief of communications. 

One parent said she is disappointed with the way communication is being handled on this and other items.

"What bothers me is the constant lack of open communication, an issue that we've complained about constantly throughout 2021 with the district. And you hear that resonated back through the union," said Anna Marie Binder, mother of several CCSD students.

In the meantime, many educators nervously wait for answers, and for rural educators like those in Moapa Valley, the stakes are even higher.

"I know there are several of them that have already turned in their resignation [because of the mandate], so it's sad. It's sad," said Dr. Lindsey Dalley, leader on the Moapa Community Educational Advisory Board.

Amid a teacher shortage, many were wondering, will the implementation cause an exodus of teachers?

"It's a big deal. It's very traumatic to replace a teacher or to try and find a teacher ... You don't have the teacher pool that you have in Las Vegas," said Dalley.

There are currently no vaccination requirements among students at CCSD, like there are at Los Angeles Unified School District; but that's something Vellardita thinks should be explored given the highly-contagious nature of the new variant.

CCSD generic classroom

"Are you going to expand it and ask parents whether or not they want to embrace it? I think that's the overwhelming issue right now that should be addressed," said Vellardita.

A representative of CCEA told FOX5 Wednesday evening that they believe the big reason for the delay is the recent turmoil on the board stemming from when Superintendent Jara was fired (and weeks later was reversed).

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(3) comments

Nevermore

Nobody should be forced into taking anything to make anyone FEEL safer. You, and you alone are responsible for your own health.

beavis

Exactly! You should have the absolute right to act as a carrier of a mutating, highly contagious virus and not have to take any precautions to protect your fellow man. You aren't free until you are science free!

Nevermore

And you have the absolute right to smoke, in which case we know second hand smoke can give people cancer whether they smoke or not. And you have the right to eat and become obese and cause everyone who watches their weight pay more for their health insurance. You lose butthead.

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