The Carson City School District has entered its final year for updating its safe school reopening plan as required by the Nevada Department of Education after 2020’s COVID-19 pandemic.
School board members Tuesday received their latest six-month review from Tasha Fuson, associate superintendent of educational services, who presented changes on the district’s document. The district’s “Plan for a Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services” details CCSD’s specific actions for keeping schools operational after a post-COVID era.
“We got a significant amount of funding,” Fuson reminded board members Tuesday. “Part of that then also required U.S. Department of Education and Nevada Department of Education oversight and guidance, and part of that guidance requires plans to be reviewed every six months through 2023. Even though we’re back to school in regular session, we do want to continue to have access and we have to review the plan every six months to continue the expenditure of those funds.”
The plan originally was presented to the public for input on June 22, 2021, and has been approved every six months since then in July 2021, revised in January 2022 and changed again in July 2022.
The plans were required for school districts to access funding provided by the American Rescue Plan’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) dollars dedicated to the states’ public schools, of which many had been closed or required to change their delivery of services through non-traditional methods due to COVID-19.
In May 2022, then-Gov. Steve Sisolak announced the pandemic was ending, eventually easing concerns about tighter restrictions for schools. Now district officials look ahead to finishing the requirements for the plan this year. Trustee Richard Varner asked Fuson on Tuesday if new leadership might impact the work after reviewing some of the content changes presented in the board packet.
“Gov. (Joe) Lombardo just came out and nixed some of the COVID plans Sisolak had,” Varner asked. “Does that have anything to do with it?”
Fuson answered some changes referring to the district’s daily procedures that already had been stricken and mostly had to do with verbiage.
Some adjustments reflect eliminating provisions for which the district is no longer responsible, such as test kits for students if they display symptoms of COVID-19. Also, the district no longer conducts daily electrostatic sanitizing and microfogging on its buses. Fuson said the transportation department has returned to pre-COVID processes of sanitizing its buses.
Trustee Joe Cacioppo asked if this creates any significant cost savings, and Superintendent Andrew Feuling said yes.
“However, those costs were entirely borne by COVID to assist with keeping students healthy,” Feuling said. “But there is still some ESSER money we could use in that regard.”
Fuson said the district no longer provides the tests and does ask families now to assess their child’s health at home and ensure they are not coming to school with a fever.
Trustee Mike Walker expressed he was happy to return “back to normal.”
“In operations, there seems to be a happiness and the mood is changing quite a bit,” Walker told Fuson. “Good job … getting us back to where we should be.”
The plan remains available on the district’s website at https://www.carsoncityschools.com/cms/One.aspx?portalId=801611&pageId=66928046.