Nevada governor backs off requiring masks for students in Douglas, other rural counties |

Nevada governor backs off requiring masks for students in Douglas, other rural counties

Kurt Hildebrand
Record Courier

ZEPHYR COVE, Nev. — A new directive released by the governor’s office on Wednesday afternoon gave school districts outside of Clark and Washoe counties the ability to determine whether face coverings will be required for students while in school buildings or on campuses.

Gov. Steve Sisolak signed the new directive that affects districts, charter and private schools in counties of fewer than 100,000 people.

Douglas school officials have previously exhorted the governor to let them determine whether students should wear masks in school.

Students will still have to wear masks on the bus and all school staff must wear face coverings.

Regardless of the mask policy at a school, passengers and drivers must wear a mask on school buses.

Regardless of the school policy, a schoolwide outbreak of the coronavirus, face coverings will be required for all students where it occurs.

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

Douglas County school officials said that the governor reversed his decision to require students in rural counties after receiving pressure from superintendents in all 17 counties.

The Douglas County School Board has previously given the superintendent with the authority to create masking policy should the governor allow local control of those policies.

Superintendent Keith Lewis has yet to create the specific policy, which will be released before school starts on Monday.

“We are excited to allow our students to return to school with a sense of normalcy and to see each other’s faces,” Lewis said.

“It was so difficult sitting at the meeting and listening to people insult and yell at our superintendent for supposedly doing nothing to help the students in our district,” Board President Linda Gilkerson said. “At the same time as he was politely sitting at the meeting and taking the unwarranted abuse, Keith was busting his butt behind the scenes, where the public can’t see, to fight for local control and to give parents control over masking decisions. Keith isn’t only a leader in the community, but he’s a leader among his peers. We’re lucky to have him as our superintendent and he deserves a great deal of gratitude from our community.”

School in Carson Valley starts on Monday. Lake Tahoe schools open on Aug. 23.

Trustees voted 5-2 to approve the reopening plan after two hours of contentious public comment on Monday, during which some parents threatened to unenroll their children from school rather than have them wear a mask.

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