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CCSD sees more students in isolation, quarantine after school return

Hundreds of students at the Clark County School District have been quarantined or isolated as a result of COVID-19 exposures or positives since in-person learning resumed in early March, according to new district data.

But positive cases on campus have not forced the closure of any schools since the district began reopening campuses in March, a representative said.

In response to a public records request from the Review-Journal, the district Monday provided aggregate data showing how many students were in quarantine or isolation on each Monday since in-person learning resumed March 1.

Isolation is mandated when a student has a confirmed positive case of COVID-19 or is symptomatic after an exposure, while quarantine is imposed when a student may have been exposed but does not have symptoms or a positive test.

The data shows an upward trend in the number of students who were in isolation or quarantine from the 308 reported March 8 — the week after elementary students first reported for two days a week of in-person instruction under a hybrid education model — through the 685 students reported the week of April 12, the most recent week for which data was available.

The figures do not indicate where the exposure or infection may have occurred and include both students who are back on campuses — nearly 100,000 as of late March — and those who continued with virtual learning full time and may not have been to school buildings. They also do not provide a breakdown of the number of students in quarantine versus isolation districtwide.

No similar records for staff

The district said it does not have similar records indicating how many staff members were in quarantine or isolation during the period.

Student numbers were broken down for individual schools, but the majority of the numbers were redacted because of privacy concerns, indicating fewer than 10 students were in quarantine or isolation.

The unredacted numbers show between 11 and 84 students in quarantine at individual schools, but fewer than 10 students in corresponding isolation.

The lone exception was April 12 at Griffith Elementary School, where the report indicated the school had 14 students in isolation and fewer than 10 students in quarantine. A district representative said that could be a result of input error or a case of students going home with symptoms but stressed that the record does not indicate 14 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases at the school.

Quarantines and isolations trended up during the initial weeks when in-person learning was offered, followed by a notable drop the week immediately following spring break and a jump the week after.

The district counted 308 students in quarantine or isolation March 8.

The numbers rose to 425 on March 15 and dropped to 396 on March 22, the first day that certain secondary students returned to campuses.

By March 29, the first day of spring break, there were 471 students in quarantine or isolation.

On April 5, the last day of spring break and the day before elementary schools reopened on a full-time basis and all secondary students were eligible to return for hybrid instruction, the numbers dropped to 222. They jumped to 685 on April 12.

10-day absence often required

Quarantine periods last 10 days if a student does not take a COVID-19 test and remains asymptomatic, but they can be shortened in some circumstances with a negative test, according to letters sent home from schools. Students with symptoms are typically instructed to isolate for 10 days from the onset of their symptoms.

Schools that have not had any cases reported are not included in the reports, and schools drop off the list once students complete their quarantine and isolation periods.

The district does not have quarantine or isolation data for employees, according to a representative. Its COVID-19 dashboard indicates 585 COVID-19 cases among employees since the beginning of 2021.

Contact Aleksandra Appleton at 702-383-0218 or aappleton@reviewjournal.com. Follow @aleksappleton on Twitter.

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