LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Clark County School District parents will have to add a mask to their back-to-school shopping lists. CCSD sending a voicemail to families saying all students and staff will adhere to guidelines including wearing face masks while inside school buildings, facilities and buses.
The move comes immediately after Gov. Steve Sisolak signed an emergency directive on Wednesday, five days before the start of the school year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended similar guidance last week.
“I feel confident that Aug. 9, all of our kids will be following all our directions and directives,” said Supt. Dr. Jesus Jara. “We’re finalizing some of those details to make sure that our kids are ready to go and that there’s not an increase in COVID cases.”
CCSD administrators are also aiming to increase the vaccine rate for employees and conducting weekly testing for those who are not vaccinated.
According to a recent study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, nationwide, nearly 72,000 children became infected with coronavirus just last week. Between July 22 and July 29, children accounted for 19% of reported cases.
Pediatricians in Clark County say they’ve seen a 7% increase among children across the valley as students prepare to return to the classrooms.
“When you’re in schools and you’re putting 25-30 kids in one room, you know, you increase that risk of transmissions,” said Dr. AJ Singh, a pediatrician with the Family Health and Wellness Center.
Dr. Singh says children are being exposed either by the adults who are vaccinated or not. She says the rising infection rate could be due to the fact that many elementary-age students are not eligible to receive the vaccine.
Right now only 12 through 17-year-olds are cleared to get the two-dose Pfizer vaccine. Both Pfizer and Moderna have said clinical trials on younger children will provide results in the fall.
Dr. Singh says getting the vaccine and wearing masks are two of several preventative measures for kids.
“You’re not 100% protected.” Dr. Singh said. “But if you’re keeping your social distancing, you’re keeping good hygiene, you can do pretty well.”
Good hygiene includes washing hands and wiping down workstations. Dr. Singh says COVID testing will be important in the upcoming school year.