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CCSD won’t say why Henderson elementary was closed after COVID cases

Two parents with children at Lamping Elementary School say the switch to distance education after COVID-19 cases were reported at the Henderson school was sudden but relatively smooth.

Parents at the school in the Anthem area were notified Monday that “multiple individuals” tested positive for the disease caused by the new coronavirus and the entire campus would switch to remote learning for two weeks.

Distance education will continue through Aug. 27. Students who are asymptomatic can return to face-to-face classes on Aug. 30.

The Clark County School District didn’t provide information Tuesday in response to a Review-Journal inquiry about the threshold for switching an entire campus to distance learning or say how many Lamping students or employees tested positive or are in quarantine.

In a statement via email, the district said: “Each instance is handled on a case-by-case basis. We are unable to speak on individual matters, but in general, CCSD works closely with (Southern Nevada Health District) when determining (contact) tracing and identifying individuals who need to quarantine.”

The school district’s online COVID-19 case dashboard also hadn’t been updated with case numbers for Lamping Elementary as of Tuesday afternoon.

Districtwide, 512 cases have been reported since July 1 — 285 among employees and 227 among students — according to the dashboard.

Cases at two more schools

Parents also were notified Tuesday by Silverado High School in Las Vegas and Coronado High School in Henderson that “an individual” at each campus tested positive for COVID-19. It was not clear how the two schools were responding.

Lamping Elementary Principal Robert Solomon declined to provide details on the school’s switch to distance education.

“At this time I will be focusing on the support needed for our teachers, students and families to successfully engage in our distance education instructional model,” he said via email.

Justin Weathersbee, president of the PTA at Lamping Elementary, who has has two children in second and fifth grades at the school, said his children had not been ordered to quarantine, indicating they had not been deemed to have been in close contact with the infected individuals.

The school’s administrators were prepared for the switch to distance education and the safety of the students is the number one priority, he said.

The transition to distance education this week, though, did come “kind of out of the blue,” Weathersbee said, and on just the second week of school.

“One week and one day is what we got,” he said.

On Sunday, the family received notification that their fifth grader’s class was told to stay home Monday as a precaution.

“I’m assuming they were preparing for this, obviously,” Weathersbee said.

Weathersbee said he received both email and phone messages from the school Monday about the transition to distance education for the entire campus.

“I’m probably different than a lot of parents,” he said. “For me, it was just OK; we’re going to be doing distance learning and shift everything back to their Chromebooks.”

He said he knew such a transition was probably going to happen at some point during the school year.

Weathersbee works at night and his wife works during the day, so he’s home with his kids during distance education.

“The transition for us is seamless,” he said.

Weathersbee said the biggest concern his children expressed was not being able to see their friends, but noted things went “really well” with classes.

The hardest part was getting logged into Canvas, the school district’s distance education platform, from home, he said.

Weathersbee said his children are already used to distance education after experiencing it for a year previously.

The school already issued a Chromebook laptop computer to each student during an open house before school began, Weathersbee said. Students were allowed to bring them back and forth between school and home.

Weathersbee said his advice to parents at any school is to be prepared and to make sure to have extra school supplies on hand at home. His children weren’t able to retrieve their supplies from their classrooms.

‘It’s an adjustment’

Lea Jonic, vice president of Lamping’s PTA, said her children in second and fifth grades were not ordered to quarantine.

“It’s an adjustment, obviously, for everybody,” she said about the transition. “I’m happy that they’re being cautious.”

Jonic said her family is trying to be as optimistic about the situation as possible, including having a positive attitude around the children. The situation isn’t the school’s fault, she added.

The first day with distance education Tuesday went surprisingly well, Jonic said, noting her children were already used to distance education from the past year. The teachers directed students through their school day and they required little to no parental help, she said.

She said both children gave her a thumbs up when she arrived home Tuesday afternoon saying their day went well, although they’d prefer to be in school in person.

Jonic and her husband transitioned to being at home as well.

“Both of our offices are super understanding because everybody is pretty used to it at this point, unfortunately,” she said.

Jonic said she and her husband are sorting out a schedule so that one of them will be home each day with their children while distance education is underway.

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

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