The Churchill County School District Superintendent, Summer Stephens held a Stakeholder meeting on Monday, June 28 at 5:00 p.m. to gather input regarding the Safe Return to In-Person Instruction Plan the district is required to submit to the Nevada Department of Education as part of the American Recovery Plan.
On Friday, June 25 an email and phone calls were sent to parents alerting them to the information gathering meeting. Parents were also invited to submit email comments regarding the Plan.
At the School Board of Trustees meeting Wednesday night, Stephens reported that she received two emails, six people attended the Monday evening meeting online, and two attended in person.
The Plan is built around the principle that the top priority is health and safety for students and staff, and includes local state, and federal guidelines and directives. Academic achievement and whole child development will be at the center of every decision, said Stephens. The plan will be reviewed and revised periodically as required and as necessary, and the district is committed to being good stewards of local, state, and federal funds meeting the goals of the board’s budget policy.
In the event that a significant outbreak is confirmed within the district, the superintendent will contact the Churchill County Chief Medical Officer and County Manager and will follow all established guidelines. If a short-term closure is necessary due to potential or confirmed COVID exposure, the district will cancel all activities. Students will return to fully remote learning if needed, and school facilities will be properly disinfected and sanitized according to the CDC and local guidance.
Full in-person learning will begin on August 23.
According to language in the Plan, “No single health and safety measure in isolation will effectively mitigate the spread of COVId-19, therefore a multi-layered approach will be used. The district will follow any current directives or mandates regarding health and wellness for staff or student who is working or attending in person.”
Several of the questions from the information gathering meeting revolved around masks, and the plan sets out the requirement according to Governor Sisolak’s COVID Directive 045 that children nine and under, along with fully vaccinated individuals do not have to wear face coverings in schools.
The CDC recommends unvaccinated people wear face coverings in schools. All children and staff using school transportation with more than one occupant are required to wear face coverings while using the transportation. The Plan also clarifies that all children and adults are welcome to wear face coverings at any time. Vaccination availability will be shared with families and staff throughout the year but in answer to many inquiries, Stephens clarified that “there is no current requirement that students or staff receive the COVID vaccinations, but unvaccinated individuals are subject to stricter isolation requirements and may be subject to stricter CDC and state guidelines.”
Nutrition services will continue under Chartwells, the district’s contracted food service provider under USDA guidelines. All students including those in virtual learning can access daily breakfast and lunch, and all students from pre-K through grade 12 will continue to receive free meals through the district eligibility.
As far as transportation, bus transfers will not be utilized this year, and buses will run circuits with stops throughout town. Students in grades K-8 in town will have access to busing if they live further than one-half-mile from their school, and all students, K-12 who live in the county, not within the city limits will have access to a bus. Sanitization will be done regularly by drivers and transportation staff and masks on district transportation will be required.
Students will attend school every day beginning in August and will be held accountable for all policies and regulations related t in-person learning. Schedules will be posted on the district and school websites and communicated through Infinite Campus. Any student who becomes excluded due to exposure or isolation related to COVID will be given temporary distance learning opportunities through their classroom teacher.
Stephens urges families to update their contact information in Infinite Campus and reiterated that this will be the main communication tool used by the district.
Students will still have the option for full-time virtual learning, working with principals and counselors. All students in the district will be provided with a district-owned device for their use along with internet connectivity if needed.
The Plan is available on the district webpage at churchillcsd.com, and was approved by the School Board trustees.