weather icon Partly Cloudy

CCSD employees allowed to stop using COVID screening app

The Clark County School District is no longer requiring employees to fill out a COVID-19 daily symptom questionnaire before reporting to work.

The change took effect Monday, according to a district message to employees.

For more than a year since in-person classes resumed in spring 2021 amid the pandemic, the district’s approximately 42,000 employees were required to use an Emocha Mobile Health app to answer a series of questions in order to get cleared to come to work.

Now, it’s no longer being used.

“Current protocols, without emocha Health, sustain and fulfill the expectations of (Southern Nevada Health District) and the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services for mitigation efforts against COVID-19 and all other communicable diseases,” according to the district’s message.

The decision comes as the district has recently relaxed other COVID-19 requirements. For instance, it no longer requires students and employees to quarantine after exposure to the coronavirus — a decision made in August following updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

A couple of employee unions told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Wednesday that they support the decision to stop using Emocha.

The Clark County Education Association said the decision is a “result of low rates of transmission of the virus that no longer require district wide daily tracking of employees.”

“We support this action by CCSD and if the transmission rate increases to unacceptable levels per guidance from Southern Nevada Health District then CCSD will take the required measures to return to monitoring daily all staff,” the teachers union said in a statement.

COVID-19 community transmission in Clark County is currently low, according to the CDC.

Jeff Horn, executive director of the Clark County Association of School Administrators and Professional-Technical Employees, said via email: “With Nevada continuing to experience low infection rates, CCASAPE is happy to see the District take steps to suspend requirements that are currently not needed. School staff will now have more time to focus on pressing issues such as student achievement.”

School district employees still must self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and report positive test results to an employee health phone line, the district’s message said.

They also will be informed through their work email if they’re identified as a close contact with someone who tests positive, according to the message.

And the district continues to operate COVID-19 testing sites for employees and students.

The district used federal coronavirus relief money to contract with Emocha Mobile Health, including approximately $1.3 million for a year starting in mid-February 2021 and about $2.8 million for an anticipated project period listed as this calendar year, according to online Clark County School Board meeting materials.

When employees used the mobile app, they answered a series of questions about whether they were experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Depending on their responses, they were issued a color-coded digital badge.

If they got a yellow badge, it meant they had to call the employee health phone line and face additional steps such as being required to undergo testing or stay home.

Last school year, some employees expressed concerns, saying they were unnecessarily missing days of work and then waiting for hours on the phone trying to get clearance to return to work, even after testing negative for COVID-19.

And amid a staffing shortage — including not enough substitute teachers — some also told the Review-Journal they were being pressured by school administrators to lie on the survey.

Contact Julie Wootton-Greener at jgreener@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2921. Follow @julieswootton on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.