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Sisolak issues new mask rules for state’s K-12 schools

CARSON CITY — Nevada will implement the latest federal guidance on use of face coverings in schools to stem the spread of COVID-19, with K-12 students in Washoe and Clark counties required to be masked while indoors regardless of their vaccine status under a new directive issued Wednesday by Gov. Steve Sisolak.

In the state’s remaining 15 counties, including Nye, all K-12 schools including charter and private schools, must adopt indoor mask policies that comply with local directives from county governments or health authorities.

Statewide, all school staff will be required to wear face coverings indoors regardless of vaccine, as will all students while traveling on school buses.

An advisory from the governor’s office said the new guidance was developed by the state’s Education and Health and Human Services departments and local school officials. It follows that of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week and is the state’s latest move aimed at curbing the spread the coronavirus’ virulent delta variant.

Because most school-age children “are not yet able to be vaccinated, additional mitigation measures are needed to protect students, staff and school visitors,” the advisory said.

The guidance further requires universal masking in any school that experiences a school-wide outbreak of COVID-19 as identified by local local health authorities.

Weekly regular testing will be required “for all students, staff and volunteers who are not fully vaccinated and who are involved in traveling to other schools or venues outside of the county for athletics and activities.”

A complete summary on the new guidance is posted on the state’s COVID-19 information site.

The announcement came as the state on Wednesday announced 24 more COVID-19 deaths and 993 new cases. Nevada’s two-week positivity rate now registers 15.5 percent, three times higher than the 5 percent threshold determined by health authorities to curb the spread of the virus.

The delta variant is responsible for 84 percent of state cases in the past week, according to state data.

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