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What goes into temporarily closing a Clark County school for COVID-19 mitigation?

frank lamping elementary school
Posted at 4:48 PM, Aug 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-18 03:13:29-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Keeping students and faculty safe. Taking a closer look at what goes into a decision to temporarily shut down a Clark County School District school due to COVID-19.

This comes after a Henderson school was shut down after “multiple” COVID-19 cases were confirmed.

“If there’s any question, we’ve got to keep the kids safe. I think it is a great decision. We’re already prepared for it.”

RELATED STORY: Henderson elementary school transitioning to distance education because of COVID-19

Justin Weathersbee was surprised to hear his two kids at Frank J. Lamping Elementary School will be doing distance learning for several days. The school shutting down temporarily after “multiple” people tested positive for COVID-19.

“It’s probably going to be our new norm as we all know,” he said.

The Southern Nevada Health District says schools have a dedicated hotline to call them if there’s a confirmed case.

“They contact that line and then we have a dedicated team ourselves of contact tracers that will locate the case in our system and being the investigation process.”

Victoria Hughes is a contact tracer supervisor with the health district. She says during an investigation, contact tracers will look at the vaccination status of people and whether multiple cases have been reported recently at the same school.

RELATED STORY: What happens if there's a COVID-19 case at Clark County School District schools?

“If we see a trend of outbreak clusters, then we may make a decision to close a classroom but that’s not our goal,” she said.

Hughes says any mitigation strategy depends on the level of exposure and outbreaks, which could lead to a classroom or school closure.

“If we know that there have been multiple cases in multiple classrooms, then we’ll consider that an outbreak, but if the infection is in one classroom, then we may decide to quarantine the people that are exposed,” she said.

She says there is no threshold to meet on closing a classroom or an entire school, saying it’s a case-by-case basis involving numerous factors.

“The level of transmission in the community. How masking was used in the classroom. How many classrooms were involved? How many students and staff members are vaccinated, for example,” she said.

Weathersbee says this can be a jarring process shifting to and from distance learning with school closures but says parents can be prepared.

“Have your Chromebook prepared. Have extra school supplies at home if you go into distance learning because your supplies are at the school now.”

The health district is telling parents if they notice their child is showing symptoms, have them stay home, notify the school and get tested. Lamping Elementary School will reopen to students on August 30.


Daily Debrief: Temporary school closures due to COVID-19