LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — After a holiday break, it's almost time for kids in Clark County to go back to school.
Their return to the classroom comes as coronavirus cases have hit record highs and hospital beds are filled mostly with unvaccinated patients.
“We've been concerned about every single variant we’ve seen so far. Everyone that we’ve seen has always been worse than the previous one in terms of transmission, so every time a new variant comes along, concerns come out,” said Brian Labus, an infectious disease epidemiologist and professor at UNLV.
Some school districts across the country are now requiring that their staff and students provide a negative COVID-19 test before returning to school. Other districts have decided to go back to virtual learning for at least a week.
The Clark County School District says it is determined to keep classrooms open despite the surge in COVID-19 cases.
“After a restful winter break, we are excited to welcome back our students and staff as scheduled. We are working with local and state health officials to monitor ongoing COVID-19 developments and are aware of the recent surge in positivity rates in our community. Mitigation strategies are in place to protect the health of our students and staff through our cleaning protocols by preparing CCSD schools and facilities for their safe return,” said a spokesperson for the district.
Data shows the Omicron variant is hitting kids harder than previous strains. Currently, child COVID-19 hospital admissions have reached an all-time high and health experts expect it could get worse.
“With omicron spreading more rapidly in the country there is obviously a concern that reopening schools will lead to a lot of diseases. No matter what variant is out there there’s always going to be a concern when you bring people together and have them spend a lot of time in close contact throughout the day,” Labus said.
CCSD students and staff will still have to wear their masks on campus throughout the day.