As stated at the beginning of the school year, our goal is to keep our students learning in school
and in person. Unfortunately, as positive cases of COVID-19 in Churchill County rise, so does the
number of students and staff members required to quarantine due to proximity contact tracing.
Per Nevada Declaration of Emergency Directive 048, if a school-wide outbreak of COVID-19 is
identified by local health officials and/or the local health authority in any school, a universal face
covering policy shall be implemented immediately for ALL students in the school building where the
outbreak occurred until the local health authority determines that the outbreak is closed. An outbreak
is defined as two (2) or more laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases among students or staff with
onsets within a 14-day period, who are epidemiologically linked, do not share a household, and were
not identified as close contacts of each other in another setting during standard case investigation or
During a three-week period between August 13, 2021 – September 08, 2021, 90 COVID-19 cases
were confirmed in ChurchillCSD. Based on the investigation of these cases by our school officials and
local health authorities, the district has excluded 618 additional students and staff members during
this time due to symptoms or primary exposure to a COVID-19 case. In addition, as of Wednesday,
September 8, 2021, Churchill County High School and Churchill County Middle School have been
identified by the Division of Public and Behavioral Health as having a COVID-19 outbreak.
In-person learning is essential for the development of our children. It can be conducted safely
even in the face of COVID-19, mainly when we use layered prevention strategies, including
recommending vaccination for those eligible, physical distancing when possible, good ventilation,
good hygiene practices, and other practices.
To keep the maximum number of students and staff in school, we have decided to implement another
layer of protection by requiring face coverings for students and staff inside our buildings
beginning tomorrow Thursday, September 9th.
Mask breaks will be allowed throughout the school day while students and staff are free to take off
face coverings while outdoors. Masks will continue to be required on buses but will not be necessary
outside of the buildings for recess or any of our outdoor district activities. The only exceptions are
those students who can produce documentation from a qualified Nevada-licensed medical
professional that they are exempt in accordance with (Directive 24, Section 7, subsection 3) or when
actively eating and drinking.
This requirement will be in place for a minimum of 28-day calendar days, which is two (2) 14-day
infectious cycles and will be reviewed at that time. The outbreak designation may be closed, even if
there are new cases during the 28-day period. Local health authorities will continually monitor new
cases within Churchill County School District to determine if a new case is school or outside related.
We know that this change in practice may cause concern for some of our students and families.
However, we are making this change because it is the only way that we can keep our students
and staff in school without having to quarantine them if they become a primary contact to a positive
Primary exposure is defined as someone who was within 3 feet of an infected person
for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from two days before illness
onset (or, for asymptomatic persons, two days prior to positive specimen collection). The following is
an exception for students: In the K-12 indoor classroom, the close contact definition excludes
students who were within 3 feet of an infected student where both students were wearing face
coverings in a proper manner and other mitigation strategies were in place. This does not apply to any
adults in the classroom. With this implementation, the quarantine process will drastically reduce.
More masking means less students who will be required to quarantine.
I can assure you that nobody is excited about the fact we are once again faced with these difficult
decisions. But, please know they have been made after a great deal of deliberation and with a focus
on student safety and, again, our ability to keep students in school every single day to keep learning,
check on their mental health and provide breakfast and lunch to those in need.
We were all hoping for a more familiar school year, but we knew we would need to remain flexible
and make changes to our policies and practices in order to keep our students and staff in school. We
will continue to monitor our local data, including the number of positive cases in our schools and our
local hospitals and re-evaluate this implementation at the beginning of October. I appreciate your
patience and understanding as we continue to navigate the effects of this virus.
Superintendent Dr. Summer Stephens