Gov. Steve Sisolak announced on Sunday the closure of all K-12 schools in the state through April 6, at a minimum, to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. Nevada is the most recent state to shutter all its schools in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The closures, which include public, private and charter schools, start on Monday, March 16.
Students in Nye County were on spring break for the last week. The school district in Nye had sent out a release on Friday stating that the schools were going to remain open.
The Clark County School District was also planning for students to return on Monday prior to Sisolak’s announcement. Clark County School District Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara was also in attendance and spoke at the governor’s briefing.
The Nye County School District sent a press release out not long after the Sisolak’s statements.
The statement reads, in part, “Many of you have heard Governor Sisolak’s press conference this afternoon closing all Nevada schools. After deliberate analysis, reviewing community concerns, consulting with local health authorities and the Nevada superintendents on Sunday, March 15. As the Governor stated, Nye County schools will be closed for at least three weeks, through April 3, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If there is a continuation of closure after April 3rd, it will be communicated as decisions are made.”
The Clark County School District will stay closed for longer, as the district has a scheduled one-week spring break that begins April 6. With that, CCSD would not, at the earliest, open until April 14.
In a March 15 Tweet, Sisolak said, “NV schools may not reopen until the State Chief Medical Officer evaluates the public health risk and determines when it is safe for each district to reopen. We will continue to be in contact with districts, teachers, & parents & provide updated timeline info as it becomes available.”
In light of Sisolak’s announcement, 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.
“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 will be “grab-and-go style” so that the potential for contamination is minimized and delays are 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 (TEFAP),” the release stated. “TEFAP resources can supply household food, not prepared meals.”
The Nye County School District plans to have its school lunch delivery up and running on Wednesday (today).
Elementary students’ breakfast and lunch distribution begins at 10 a.m., starting on Wednesday, at district bus stops.
“Until we are better able to determine actual stop times, please be at the bus stop with all children receiving food beginning at 10 a.m. for a possible 30-45 minute wait time,” a release from the school district stated.
The release also stated that food will be provided to children who are present at the bus stop.
Middle and high school students in the Nye County school district will be able to pick up at distribution points at 11 a.m. at the district’s existing bus stops. The same 30-45 wait time was noted by the district, and children who are present will receive food.
For Mount Charleston students, “students and siblings may pick up food at a distribution site or at a convenient bus stop,” the release stated.
The distribution sites include Pahrump Valley High School, Rosemary Clarke Middle School, Floyd Elementary School, and Hafen Elementary School’s main entrances. The pick-up times listed for those sites are 10-11 a.m.
Beatty Elementary School is also in operation from 10-11 a.m. and food can be picked up in the cafeteria.
Breakfast and lunch will be provided at the distribution sites and existing bus stops to every student/child 18 and under.
“Because the purpose behind school closures is to limit congregating, we recommend that family groups stay together and apart from other groups,” the district’s release stated. “Since we are not sure how long it is going to take, be prepared to stay at your stop until the bus arrives. It could be a 30-45 minute wait.”
Under federal regulations, students/children must be present to receive the breakfast and lunch, according to the district.
Students/children can go to any bus stop.
If a student/child misses the distribution at a bus stop, they can go to any of the aforementioned distribution sites.
Contact Interim Editor Jeffrey Meehan at email@example.com