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Ill students attended Henderson charter while awaiting test results

A Henderson public charter school had three COVID-19 cases among students during the first two weeks of school, some of whom were sent to school without notification by parents while they were symptomatic and awaiting test results.

Signature Preparatory, which began a new year Aug. 9, had two students test positive during the first week and one during the second week.

Two parents — one new to the school and one new to being a school parent — brought their children to campus with symptoms on the first day of school as they were awaiting COVID-19 test results without notifying the school, school founder and Executive Director Gabe Shirey said in an email to the Review-Journal.

They called the school two days to later to inform staff that their children had tested positive for the disease caused by the new coronavirus and “the school followed (Southern Nevada Health District) guidelines perfectly,” he said.

Signature Prep has now reinforced its illness policy “by reminding parents multiple times of our expectations,” Shirey said.

The school didn’t have any COVID-19 cases from about February through the end of last school year, Shirey said. “Before that, it was always minimal, rarely one case per month, if that,” he said.

The Nevada State Public Charter School Authority, which oversees 67 campuses and more than 53,000 students, has reported 127 COVID-19 cases and 104 exclusions as of Friday. Approximately 80 percent of the state-authorized charters operate in Southern Nevada,

Those numbers are a total since Aug. 5 and are subject to change since additional cases were reported over the weekend and Monday, Executive Director Rebecca Feiden said via email.

The Clark County School District also notified parents about positive COVID-19 cases last week, including an “individual” who tested positive at Foothill High School in Henderson and at O’Callaghan Middle School i3 Learn Academy in Las Vegas.

The district does not reveal whether positive tests involved students or staff at individual schools and does not share information on quarantines out of privacy concerns, according to Superintendent Jesus Jara.

The school district, which has more than 308,000 students, has reported 770 COVID-19 cases since July 1.

The district’s online case tracker notes 554 cases this month. A new school year began Aug. 9.

The tracker notes 13 COVID-19 cases at Foothill High and fewer than 10 at O’Callaghan since July 1.

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

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