WCSD Board Meeting: COVID Restrictions and End of Year Planning
On the ninth of March, the Washoe County School District Board of Trustees held their regular meeting at Hug High School. On their agenda were items including gifted education, graduation plans, and the easing of covid restrictions.
The number of new COVID-19 cases has steadily declined since it peaked in the Second wave in mid-December. As a result, Governor Sisolak has allowed for the de-escalation of COVID-19 restrictions, including the increase from 25 percent occupancy in buildings back to 50 percent and the greater population of WCSD schools. Per the governor’s recommendations, the school board discussed plans for allowing the greater return of students to classrooms. Middle and High School classrooms can expect to grow by about 7-8 students each. Elementary schools by about 2 or 3. To accommodate for the larger number of students within classrooms, students will have to lessen their social distance from one another to 3 feet from the previous 6. Students will still be expected to distance themselves 6 feet from their teachers, whose health may be more affected by COVID-19.
Classrooms cannot fully return however, it is still recommended that classrooms be left at 75 percent occupancy. Priority for return to in-person learning after spring break will thus be given to seniors, who may need help to graduate, and students failing at home. Students who feel like they would benefit from a return to in-person learning can submit their requests to their schools for a return in the last quarter.
The easing of COVID-19 restrictions also means that we can expect to see larger events and celebrations nearing the end of the school year. As of now, schools can plan to develop their own plans for graduation ceremonies with student input taken into account. Students on campus have expressed their support for a plan to graduate on-campus, outdoors, while remaining socially-distant. Ariana Medina, the senior class president at Hug High School expressed to the board the significance of a traditional graduation experience after a year of hard work.
In the case that this form of celebration is not possible, the school will proceed with the drive-thru graduation model used last year. Nothing is set in stone, but if COVID-19 numbers decrease and more teachers receive their vaccinations, then we can hopefully celebrate more traditionally. All plans are dependent on the restrictions placed by the governor’s office.