Admins optimistic, yet cautious, for staying in-person


Spring Valley administration plans to keep students in-person, through CCSD COVID-19 safety protocols, amidst the rising positive cases. As long as students and staff are following procedures, in-person schooling will remain in place over a possible return to distanced learning, in accordance with the district.

“We absolutely want to keep schools open, and that is our first priority because we know this is where we need to be,” Principal Tara Powell said. 

Since the reopening of schools for the 2021-2022 school year, all CCSD schools are expected to follow the district’s health guidelines, in alignment with the Southern Nevada Health District and the Center of Disease Control. Protocols such as mandatory weekly COVID tests for unvaccinated staff and athletes, limiting and tracking students in and out of classrooms, are carried out. 

“In the beginning [protocols were] changing all the time but now it’s been consistent. If there is a change we are immediately notified by Health Services,” School Nurse Jill Smith said. 

Although guidelines faced frequent changes initially, admins report they’ve adapted to the protocols, including the communication of tracking COVID cases. Weekly emails, with updated information from the school, are sent to families, as part of the district’s protocols. 

“The superintendent made it very clear that we’re going to do our very best and everything in our power, as an admin team, to keep schools open,” Powell said. 

A student in suspicion of contracting COVID-19, or experiencing symptoms of sickness, is to stay at home, including 10 days of isolation after the first day of symptoms. A testing center is available in the school’s parking lot, but requires students to have a referral from the school nurse. Such testing is only for symptomatic or exposure for CCSD students, according to Smith. 

As of September 28th, CCSD reported a districtwide total of 3,185 total positive cases of COVID-19 (since July 1st). The number and identity of students who’ve either contracted the virus, or are in self-quarantine, remains confidential, according to Nurse Smith. Staff and admin, however, are taking measures to guarantee student safety at school during the pandemic. 

“The adults need to practice it, we’re the models for you all, every single day, so us practicing [protocols], makes sure that students are aware,” Powell said. 

This year, the District is in partnership with emocha Health, in order to track daily symptom monitoring. All faculty are expected to report via the emocha Health app, regarding their conditions, every morning. A faculty member in exposure to, or facing, COVID symptoms, are to follow the same protocols and contact the nurse line. Administration, staff, and teachers are to maintain the standard of safety protocols by the CDC, though hold students to the same expectation. 

“I know everybody has their own individual opinion about COVID, but again, you’re not only affecting your life… you’re affecting your teammates, coaches, and the student population.” Assistant Principal and Head of Athletics Department Yvonne Arguello said. “It’s just really important to be on the safe side, rather than to create a major health issue on campus.”

For student activities, such as athletes partaking in a return to sports, the jeopardization of the season falls on their ability to follow through COVID guidelines. 

“Hopefully the Winter and Spring sport teams see that COVID is not going away at this time, and so all necessary precautions are for their health and for the health of others,” Arguello said. 

If athletes within a sports team are recognized to testing positive by the Health Service Department, the team will be placed into quarantine and suspension, according to Aruello. In Spring Valley, the girl’s volleyball team was quarantined within 3 weeks of the start of their season. While other fall sports fall into play of game-time loss, such as the cancellation of recent Varsity and JV Football games. Both cases involved the quarantine of multiple athletes testing positive for COVID-19.

According to Arguello, the success of sports teams’ seasons is dependent on the individuals’ ability to keep up with the protocols, including weekly testing for unvaccinated athletes. Administration is holding the expectation that the school year will remain in-person, so long as the district requires, and students stay true to safety guidelines.

“I think having kids on campus and being able to socialize and to get direct instruction from a teacher in front of them will occur throughout the rest of the year,” Arguello said. “But I do understand that if COVID gets worse, and we have to take necessary precautions, then we will follow all CCSD guidelines.”

One main reason for the optimism of in-person, administrators and staff state, is that students’ social and emotional well-being has improved. The distance learning model presented issues in students’ academic and social performance, leaning administrations’ preference against a possible return back. 

“I don’t think that academically, we were very successful with students [during the distanced-learning model] because [majority of] students need someone in front of them to learn,” Arguello said. 

The implementation of all students having a Chromebook and using Canvas as a ‘second classroom’, has allowed teachers to publish schoolwork for quarantined-students to access. However, despite consistency in the transition back in-person, a district wide staff shortage has added workload and pressure onto the limited number of administrators, teachers, and staff. 

“We are very short staffed for nurses and COVID has added a whole lot more work to our already busy jobs. The district is working on solutions to help nurses with reporting of illnesses,” Smith said. 

According to Principal Powell, faculty such as janitors are also short staffed, and remain consistent in maintaining a sanitized campus. The Grizzly Growler was unable to reach out to school janitors for further comments on the progress of sanitary changes at school, due to scheduling conflicts. 

For school administration, the focus shall remain on the saftey of students on in-person campus. 

“It’s very nice to have [students] back on campus, it’s good to see them socializing; seeing them back in sports, clubs, and activities, and just overall getting emotional support for students that had to isolate themselves for 18 months,” Arguello said.