weather icon Clear

School employee tests positive for COVID-19

Updated April 3, 2020 - 8:18 pm

The Nye County School District announced that an employee that participated in the distribution of its school lunch and breakfasts has tested positive for COVID-19.

The district was “notified of an employee testing positive for the coronavirus,” a Thursday press release stated. “This employee participated in the food distribution program.”

The news comes just a day after the school district announced that it was halting school lunch delivery.

“The decision to temporarily discontinue food distribution through April 17, 2020, was in relation to student and staff safety which continues to be our number one priority,” the district’s release stated. “The Nye County School District is working with the Nevada Department of Agriculture to explore possible community food distribution options for NCSD students during this period of time.”

The district’s statement said, “All Pahrump attendance area employees have been notified of possible exposure. To protect the privacy rights of the individual no further details will be given. Nye County School District asks for the community’s assistance in respecting this employee’s privacy, especially on social media, and to join us in our efforts and Stay Home for Nevada – Stay Home for Nye!”

A Wednesday statement from the district said, “As the number of coronavirus cases in Nye County continues to increase, NCSD has made the difficult, yet necessary decision, to keep all employees home through April 17, 2020, in order to keep our employees healthy, and most importantly, limit exposure to the coronavirus for our children,” the school district said in a release.

This order went into effect on Thursday.

“For the past several weeks, Nye County School District has worked hard to provide food and instructional materials to our students. We have been very proud of our employees and families for making this partnership a model for districts in our state and across the country,” the district’s release stated.

The school district got its school lunch delivery program up and running on March 18, utilizing the district’s current bus route and distribution centers throughout the county as delivery points.

According to the district’s prior releases, food distribution is considered an essential service during the closure of K-12 schools across Nevada. In light of this, the district stated in a press release that the need for staffing continues to provide this function.

In light of Gov. Steve Sisolak’s order to close schools last month, the Nevada Department of Agriculture began implementing the first of a two-tier strategy to lessen the potential for interruption of the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program for students across the state, according to a release from the department in March.

“We understand the importance of preventative closures to protect students, faculty and members of the community, and we are doing everything we can to help minimize the impact to students and families that rely on school meals and ensure they have access to nutritious meals,” NDA Director Jennifer Ott said. “We are strongly urging all meal site sponsors to practice social distancing by using drive-thru service where possible and by requiring six feet of space between all individuals, should lines start to form.”

According to the agriculture department, the programs utilized to serve children in the summer will be used to “provide food while schools are closed in response to the threat of COVID-19.”

The delivery of the food was set to be “grab-and-go style” so that the potential for contamination is minimized and delays were avoided. All the food will still meet the federal nutrition standards, according to the state’s department of agriculture.

“If widespread school closures result in reduced capacity of school central kitchens to provide grab-and-go meals, the second-tier strategy uses USDA Foods through the Emergency Food Assistance program,” the March release stated. “TEFAP resources can supply household food, not prepared meals.”

In a recent statement, Ott said, “We are working closely with Nye County School District food service staff to quickly determine a plan to provide children with access to meals safely. Once available, information about new meal options will be distributed to Nye County communities by the school district and amplified by the NDA.”

The school district is still implementing its distance learning program. “Learning at a Distance for our students will continue, however, all services involving people and physical proximity will stop,” the district said in a statement. “The reinstatement of these services will be evaluated over the next two weeks as we monitor positive COVID-19 cases in Nye County as well as food vendor availability and delivery.”

The district’s statement continued: “Again, this decision was not made lightly. Nye County School District is in the best position to flatten the curve in the spread of the coronavirus. Please join us in our efforts and Stay Home for Nevada – Stay Home for Nye!”

Nye County had four active cases of COVID-19, with three in Pahrump and one in Amargosa Valley. Two people had recovered, one in Pahrump and one in Beatty, according to the county.

As of Thursday afternoon, 1,458 cases of COVID-19 were reported by the state and 38 people had died. This data came from a website by the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services Office of Analytics.

Contact Interim Editor Jeffrey Meehan at jmeehan@pvtimes.com

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
IN SEASON: Okra, a southern favorite for your western garden

Okra may be considered a staple crop in the American South, but it also grows very well in our hot dry climate. As a member of the mallow family, it puts on a stunning display of delicate yellow flowers.

Special legislative session scheduled to open Friday

Gov. Steve Sisolak on Thursday issued the formal proclamation to call the Nevada Legislature into a special session beginning 9 a.m. Friday, July 31 to address significant policy issues that cannot wait until the regularly scheduled legislative session. This will be the 32nd special session in Nevada’s history.

Report chronicles massive decline in fish populations

With hydroelectric power, overfishing, climate change and pollution on the rise, monitored populations of migratory freshwater fish species have plummeted by 76% on average since 1970, according to the first comprehensive global report on the status of freshwater migratory fish issued this week by the World Fish Migration Foundation and Zoological Society of London.

AngloGold Ashanti gains exploration project permit

The administrator of the Division of Environmental Protection has decided to issue a reclamation permit for an exploration project to AngloGold Ashanti North America.

Immunizations remain required part of back-to-school routines

As parents continue to navigate what back to school looks like this year, one aspect of the ritual that hasn’t changed is making sure kids are up to date on their vaccines. Whether families choose in-person, hybrid or distance learning models for the fall 2020 school session, Nevada law requires immunizations for child care, school and university entry, with the exception of religious exemptions or a medical condition.

DMV will offer renewals online, by mail this fall

Nevada motorists who have been unable to make an appointment at DMV offices before their expiration date will benefit from two new initiatives announced Tuesday by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Nye County Civic Center proposal presented

In 2016, when Valley Electric Association was aiming to sell a 200-kilovolt transmission line and needed a vote of approval by its members in order to do so, one of the selling points for that sale was the promise that if it went through, VEA would donate $5 million toward the construction of a new community center. It may have taken nearly three years after the transmission sale was executed but VEA did finally make good on that promise, offering the $5 million donation to Nye County, with the Nye County Commission voting to accept it in September 2019.

NCSD superintendent lays out school reopening plans

Earlier this month, the Nye County School District Board of Trustees approved the district’s COVID-19 re-entry plan, which laid out three models for returning students and staff to school safely.

Pahrump elementary schools to observe hybrid education model

With less than a month left before youth across Nye County are scheduled to begin the new school year, the Nye County School District has announced a change in its school re-entry plans, switching Pahrump area K-5 schools from the originally selected 100% in-person education model to the hybrid model that requires students to conduct their learning online three days out of the five-day school week.