LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Clark County schools are canceling classes on Friday and Tuesday, putting students on an extended break around the Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday.
The cancellation comes as a school district dashboard shows a total of 10,596 COVID cases in the school district since July — with 2,272 coming in the first 10 days of 2022.
Staff will be required to work from home on Friday, Jan. 14 and Tuesday, Jan. 18.
“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,” according to a Clark County School District (CCSD) statement.
“Employees and students will return to work and regular in-person instruction on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022,” CCSD said.
The school calendar is being modified to push these school days back to Feb. 7 and April 25. Monday, Feb. 7 was previously a “contingency” day in the school calendar, and Monday, April 25 was previously designated as a staff development day.
“All athletics, before- and after-school activities, Safekey, field trips, athletic practices, and athletic travel are canceled from Jan. 14, 2022, through Jan. 18, 2022,” CCSD said.
Bruce Brandon, a parent at Robert E. Lake Elementary School said, “It’s kind of been an ongoing issue as far as, like, you know, even if they sneeze, they out five days. You know what I mean?”
“So it’s been kind of a precautious thing,” Brandon said. “But when we got the email today, it’s kind of been a thing where we get emails all the time about there’s chance somebody got COVID.”
Brandon said, “It’s a process like everything else with this whole pandemic thing. But what can we do but try and keep our kids safe.”
According to CCSD teacher Shelli Clark, “As a parent and as a teacher, I have mixed feelings. I think it’s a good idea as long as we don’t go back to distance learning. If it truly is a 5-day pause to allow the students and teachers that are in quarantine a chance to recover, then I’m content with it.”
Gov. Steve Sisolak issued a statement Tuesday afternoon after the announcement:
“I know many parents and families will be disappointed with the Clark County School District’s decision. Let me be clear, I am absolutely committed to keeping schools open for in-person learning and keeping our students, educators and staff safe.
There is no substitute for having kids on our campuses, learning in classrooms with their teachers and peers. And I will use every resource I have as Governor of the State of Nevada to keep schools open for in-person learning. I know the School District leadership shares this same goal.
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.
I hope this long weekend will allow staff, students, and our hardworking educators to get healthy so they can return to work ready to provide high-quality instruction for our children. That’s what our educators do best, and that’s what our students and families deserve.
I expect that CCSD leadership will continue to meet and make plans to ensure our students do not fall further behind academically and to make sure schools have and use the tools they need to continue uninterrupted in-person learning going forward. I will be monitoring the situation closely and will assist or intervene whenever necessary and wherever possible.
Sisolak went on to remind Nevadans to get vaccinated as the virus spreads.
Republican candidate for governor Dean Heller responded to Sisolak’s message, saying the shutdown “represents further damage to southern Nevada children under the pandemic mismanagement of Governor Steve Sisolak and other government officials.”