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Long lines prompt expansion of COVID-19 testing for CCSD workers

Updated August 11, 2021 - 2:42 pm

The Clark County School District is adding more COVID-19 testing sites for employees required to undergo weekly screenings after teachers reported long wait times on the first few days of the new school year.

The change announced Wednesday was due to “unforeseen circumstances and to accommodate weekly required COVID-19 testing for identified staff outside of their contractual workday,” Deputy Superintendent Brenda Larsen-Mitchell said in a memo to employees.

Another change: The district is allowing employees to undergo PCR testing — not rapid antigen testing — at a non-district site, such as at a pharmacy, Southern Nevada Health District, University Medical Center, UNLV or the College of Southern Nevada.

The deadline is 11:59 p.m. on the last day of each testing cycle. Employees must email their lab result to RMTVerification@nv.ccsd.net.

The school district announced this month that employees who aren’t fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are required to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.

Employees who upload their completed COVID-19 vaccination card to a third-party platform run by emocha Health are exempted.

The Clark County Education Association, the union that represents CCSD teachers, heard about long lines at district testing sites on Tuesday from members, when more than 100 people queued at Mojave High School in North Las Vegas, President Marie Neisess said.

The employees who reached out were frustrated that they had to wait outdoors in the heat and that the site also didn’t have enough testing kits, Neisess said.

“It was just chaos and a fiasco,” she said, adding that the district did eventually provide employees with bottled water.

When the union started getting calls from employees, leaders reached to Superintendent Jesus Jara to find out what was going on and if there was a plan to address the situation as soon as possible, Neisess said.

The union also is working with the county to try to get as many places as possible where teachers can be tested outside the designated school district sites, she said.

For school district testing sites, there’s also now an online tracker where employees can see how many people are in line at each district testing location to avoid long waits.

An online schedule for this week shows eight sites operating each day, except for seven on Wednesday.

“Once again, the district is committed to keeping our schools open for in-person learning, while promoting the health and safety of all students and staff,” Larsen-Mitchell wrote in the memo. “We will continue to monitor the health data in our community to make informed decisions regarding the implementation of mitigation strategies.”

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

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