Effective September 13, 2021 – Masks Required for ALL PCSD Students
As stated at the beginning of the school year, our goal is to keep our students learning in school and in-person. Unfortunately, as positive cases of COVID-19 in Pershing County rise, so does the number of students and staff members who are required to quarantine due to the virus and contact tracing.
Per Nevada Declaration of Emergency Directive 048, if a school-wide outbreak of COVID-19 is identified by local health officials and/or the local health authority in any school, a universal face covering policy shall be implemented immediately for ALL students in the school building where the outbreak occurred until the local health authority determines that the outbreak is closed. An outbreak is defined as two (2) or more laboratory confirmed COVID-19 cases among students or staff with onsets within a 14-day period, who are epidemiologically linked, do not share a household, and were not identified as close contacts of each other in another setting during standard case investigation or contact tracing.
During the first three weeks of school, COVID-19 cases were confirmed in multiple Pershing County School District Schools. Based on the investigation of these cases by our school officials and local health authorities, the district has had to exclude several students and staff members during this time due to symptoms or primary exposure to a COVID-19 case. This continued exclusion of students and staff has severely jeopardized our ability to provide in-person instruction for our students.
Effective Monday, September 13, 2021, ALL Pershing County School District students, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear face coverings when indoors and when utilizing PCSD transportation. The only exceptions are those students who can produce documentation from a qualified Nevada-licensed medical professional that they are exempt in accordance with subsection 3 of section 7 of Directive 24 or when actively eating and drinking.
This requirement will be in place for a minimum of 28-day calendar days, which is two (2) 14-day infectious cycles. The outbreak designation may be closed, even if there are new cases during the 28- day period. Local health authorities in cooperation with PCSD will continually monitor new cases within Pershing County School District to determine if a new case is school or outside related.
We know that this change in practice may cause concern for some of our students and families. Please understand the universal masking of students plays a significant role in keeping our schools open to in-person learning. With the implementation of universal masking the quarantine process will drastically be reduced as the CDC definition of a close contact drops from 6 feet to 3 feet of distance for our students.
Keeping our PCSD schools open to in-person learning remains the top-priority of Pershing County School District, and as we have done over the course of this pandemic, we will implement all required mitigation measures. We hope our school community shares this same goal and will accept the reality that each of us play a role in keeping PCSD schools accessible to our students. With that in mind, we cannot emphasize enough the importance of parents and guardians keeping sick students at home, quarantining unvaccinated students if there is a positive case in the household, and taking the time to screen your children prior to leaving for school each day.
Please be assured that nobody is excited about the fact we are once again faced with these difficult decisions. But please know they have been made after a great deal of deliberation and with a focus on student and staff safety and, again, our ability to keep our students in school every single day.