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CCSD leaders address 5-day pause, point to extreme staffing shortage amid COVID surge

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The Clark County School District Headquarters at Sahara and Decatur in Las Vegas as seen in July 2020
Posted at 6:42 AM, Jan 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-13 10:04:17-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A rise in teacher absences is having a major impact on the Clark County School District.

Less than two weeks after CCSD returned to school following the winter break, district officials announced a 5-day pause, citing extreme staffing shortages.

The closure comes amid a surge of COVID-19 cases among students and educators.

RELATED: CCSD cancels 2 school days, citing 'extreme' staff shortage, rising COVID cases

The district has reported more than 10,500 total COVID-19 cases since July, including nearly 7,000 students and 3,000 staffers. Of the total number, 2,272 have been reported this month.

“It’s not that we weren’t implementing our process, it was more of maximizing our time and addressing the labor shortage at once,” said Monica Cortez, CCSD assistant superintendent.

In a statement, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said that he knows many families will be disappointed by the school district’s decision.

“Let me be clear, I am absolutely committed to keeping schools open for in-person learning and keeping our students, educators and staff safe,” Sisolak said.

13 Action News spoke with CCSD parents who said they were worried the pause could lead to remote learning once again.

“I think they should’ve figured it out before we started coming back. I mean the staffing shortages have been a problem that we’ve been dealing with since the beginning of the school year. I feel like it’s been a problem since the beginning of time with CCSD. We’re just not giving the kids what they need and so a five-day shutdown is only going to hurt them even more,” said Erin Phillips, president of the Power2Parent Union.

As of mid-December, the CCSD was already short about 850 licensed employees. The shortage forced principals at some schools to combine some classes and, in some cases, move dozens of students to large spaces like the school gym to work on lessons.

“When you don’t have the staff that is able to come to work, then it definitely impacts your labor shortage and so that is what we’re experiencing. Remote learning is not even on our radar right now. We are just taking this pause to make sure we give staff the opportunity to get vaccinated, boosted and tested if they need to and the time to get back to work after this holiday,” Cortez said.

Thursday, the CCSD Board of Trustees will be meeting in the evening at Valley High School to discuss how they plan to move forward with their current plans.