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2 Nye schools still under mask mandate, awaitng evaluation

The Nye County School District was still waiting to hear from the state on whether or not the mask mandate imposed at the end of August could be lifted after an uptick of COVID-19 cases led to the initial action by the state’s health department.

A mask mandate was imposed by the state’s health department at the end of August for Rosemary Clarke Middle School and Pahrump Valley High School, the school district said in an Aug. 26 letter to parents and guardians. The mandate was set to go into effect, due to a COVID-19 outbreak at both schools, on the following day, according to information in the letter.

“We are waiting on the health department’s reassessment and notification regarding masks at the two schools,” Janelle Veloz, school district executive assistant to the superintendent, said in a Wednesday email.

Under Directive 048, signed by Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, there is a universal masking requirement for all students and staff until a COVID-19 outbreak at the schools is considered over, according to Shannon Litz, public information officer for the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services. The mask requirement during the period is to be enforced whether or not a student or staff member is vaccinated against COVID-19, Litz said in an email.

According to Litz, the outbreak will be assessed and considered over, “based on the volume of school-related cases and results of disease investigation efforts.”

The mask mandate was first reported by the Nye County School District on Aug. 26. According to information from the health department, the requirement would be set into place for a minimum of 28 days, which is two incubation periods, Litz said.

“Outbreak designation will be reevaluated at that time (after 28 days) and a determination will be made related to continued universal mask use as a mandatory mitigation measure under Directive 048,” Litz said. “If the schools continue to experience an outbreak beyond the 28 days, the data will be reevaluated every subsequent incubation period (14 days).”

According to the original letter from Nye’s school district, all staff and students were required to wear masks indoors and on school buses as of Friday, Aug. 27.

“This will be in effect until the State Health Department informs us our cases are low enough that we can then go back to not requiring masks,” the Aug. 26 letter states. “Please understand that we have no choice in this matter. We legally are required to follow the directives from the State Department of Health.”

The original letter from the school district can be read in full on pvtimes.com

Contact Editor Jeffrey Meehan at jmeehan@pvtimes.com

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