LAS VEGAS (KLAS)– The first Clark County School District Board of Trustees meeting of 2022 turned heated Thursday, as many voiced their concerns over the district’s decision to pause classes for five days, citing a surge in COVID-19 cases and subsequent staff shortages.

“Please do not shut us down after this five-day pause,” CCSD parent Erin Phillips said, addressing the board. 

It was another night of impassioned pleas as parents, teachers, and students spoke on the move and their fear campus closures could continue. 

“I don’t feel safe,” CCSD employee Autumn Tampa said. “The protocols are not working.”

Michelle Blauer said her kids struggled with distance learning last year, both emotionally and mentally. 

“It’s more than just education,” Blauer said. “It’s super hard for these kids to be on the computer all day long, with no social interaction.”

However, district leaders said during Thursday’s meeting that they are doing everything they can to keep school closures from happening. 

“Our goal is to stay open,” CCSD Trustee Lola Brooks said. “And not shift to distance education.”

A standard, six-month revision to the Plan for Path Forward Program was presented Thursday, initially implemented when the district allotted $777 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds last year. 

The volunteer ‘Test to Stay’ program was also announced. Starting Wednesday, Jan. 19, will allow students and staff exposed to COVID-19 on campus to test every other day and avoid a five-day quarantine. 

Regardless, many, including Tampa, said they want to see more done.

“I want to tell you right now,” Tampa said, addressing the board. “It’s not good enough.”

Blauer said she wants trustees to understand what’s at stake moving forward. 

“The decisions they make,” she concluded. “Impact the lives of our kids and their futures.”

COVID retention bonuses were also approved during Thursday’s meeting, which means eligible full-time employees, as of Jan. 1, 2022, will receive $1,000. They will be paid an additional $1,000 if they are still on board with the district on May 25, 2022.