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Classes back in session

The school year resumed earlier this week and with it came excitement for being back on campus and the continued requirement for students and staff to wear masks.

“We are very, very excited to … start the second semester,” said Amy Wagner, principal of Boulder City High School.

“I’m looking forward to finishing the second half of the year the way we finished the first half of the year, which is having our students in school, learning their standards and developing as leaders,” said Benjamin Day, principal of Mitchell Elementary School.

The 2021-2022 school year resumed Wednesday, Jan. 5, after the holiday break. Students were back on campuses for in-person learning, but they and staff still have to wear face masks inside buildings and on all district school buses. They are not required outside. Social distancing between students, when possible, is also still being encouraged.

In addition, Wagner said she is encouraging hand sanitizing and extra cleaning as Southern Nevada faces a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Clark County’s COVID-19 test positivity rate has blown past the peak of the summer surge of the disease, according to state and local data posted Tuesday, Jan. 4.

The county’s 14-day test positivity rate, which tracks the percentage of those tested who are found to be infected, stood at 17.7 percent Tuesday, an increase of 3.6 percentage points from Monday, Jan. 3, and higher than the 15.9 percent that marked the peak of the summer wave Aug. 8.

“We just have to be good about doing things again. … The most important thing is when you’re sick, you need to stay home,” she said.

According to the Clark County School District, if a student is not feeling well, has any symptoms of COVID-19, has been exposed to someone with it or tested positive for it, they must stay at home until they are cleared to return.

The COVID-19 parent/guardian hotline, 702-799-4322, is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Despite these rules and restrictions, local principals said they are still looking forward to what the rest of the school year has to offer.

“We are preparing to do a Breaking Down the Walls with every student on Jan. 18-20,” said Melanie Teemant, principal of Garrett Junior High School. “Breaking Down the Walls is a unique opportunity for students and staff to connect, share their stories and realize ‘it’s hard to hate someone whose story you know.’ This program creates a safe environment for students to build empathy and understanding through our ‘play, trust, learn’ model.”

“I feel like the school year has been a real success thus far,” said Day. “I’ve been reminded of how much progress our students can make when they are in school all day with us. Our families have been incredibly cooperative with all that we’ve asked of them to allow the students to come to school during a pandemic and, as a result, we’ve had a relatively small number of students who have had to stay home due to a COVID-19 exposure or positive test.”

Las Vegas Review-Journal Jonah Dylan contributed to this report.

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

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