The Clark County School District is implementing a five-day pause for all classes and school activities due to extreme staffing issues because of the high number of positive COVID-19 cases.
According to the district, the pause will take place from Friday, Jan. 14, through Tuesday, Jan. 18. It includes the weekend of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday, so there will be only two days of missed classes. No remote learning will be conducted on the canceled school days.
“As far as how this will affect the school, we’re just going to be having days off for the students on Friday of this week and Tuesday of next week that we weren’t expecting, so the teachers will be adjusting their lesson plans accordingly,” said Benjamin Day, principal of Mitchell Elementary School. “In the long run, this doesn’t affect things too much because the kids will be taking days off that were already scheduled contingency days to occur later in the year; so when all is said and done, the school calendar won’t be disrupted very much.”
“We have been very lucky to not see the number of staff absences that many of the other Las Vegas Valley schools have seen during the return from winter break,” said Jason Schrock, principal of King Elementary School. “My hope is that this five-day pause allows staff and students the opportunity to feel better and return to school. I want to thank our parents who have been so supportive during this entire year as we work through the challenges of teaching and learning during the pandemic. I want to encourage our parents to reach out to our office if they have any questions about this change to the CCSD calendar.”
According to a school district press release, the five-day pause “will promote a safe, healthy learning environment” in schools to “‘Stop the Spread’ in order to continue face-to-face instruction.”
In addition to the two days of missed classes, all athletics, before- and after-school activities, Safekey, field trips and athletic practices and travel are canceled for the entire five days.
Employees and students will return to campus Wednesday, Jan. 19, when activities are also set to resume.
To compensate for the missed classes, Friday, Jan. 14, will be a staff development day with all the staff working from home. Tuesday, Jan. 18, was a contingency day and now will be used as a work from home day for staff.
Students will also have classes on Feb. 7 and April 25 to make up for the missed days. Both of those days were previously contingency days for the school year.
“There is no substitute for having kids on our campuses, learning in classrooms with their teachers and peers. … 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,” said Gov. Steve Sisolak in a press release. “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.”
An email to parents said students who wish to receive free school meals during the break will receive extra servings to take home, and more information to be provided later.
On Tuesday, Jan. 10, the district’s online COVID-19 dashboard showed 10,596 COVID-19 cases reported since July 1 among students and employees. That included an increase of 485 cases from Monday.
The district has reported 2,272 cases so far this month.
The dashboard is based on reports the district receives of positive cases via two hotlines for employees and students, which are input into the system by school nurses.
Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Julie Wootton-Greener contributed to this report.
Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at email@example.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.