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Las Vegas charter school campus temporarily closes due to COVID-19

Updated November 17, 2020 - 12:13 pm

Legacy Traditional School-Southwest Las Vegas temporarily closed its campus and transitioned back to 100 percent distance learning for at least 10 days due to “a handful” of COVID-19 cases.

The public charter school — which was providing in-person classes for a limited number of students — made an announcement to its school community Saturday.

In a Tuesday statement to the Review-Journal, the school said the temporary closure wasn’t mandated by public health authorities, “but Legacy is taking this step out of an abundance of caution following a handful of coronavirus cases on campus.”

The campus will be “fully cleaned and sanitized” before students return after fall break, the school said.

Legacy officials have notified the Southern Nevada Health District, and employees and students considered close contacts with those who tested positive have been notified.

Southern Nevada Health District doesn’t provide specific COVID-19 case information by location. And Legacy’s statement Tuesday didn’t provide an exact number of cases.

In August, the Nevada State Public Charter School Authority’s board approved a distance learning mandate, saying schools in counties with an elevated level of COVID-19 transmission — including Clark County — could provide in-person instruction for up to 25 percent of their students.

Earlier this month, the board relaxed the requirement further, allowing schools to bring up to 40 percent of their students on campus at any given time. It’s unclear whether Legacy brought back any additional students this month, as allowed by the state.

Charter authority Executive Director Rebecca Feiden said in a Tuesday email to the Review-Journal: “Our schools continue to work closely with the local health districts to follow up on any reported positive cases. These have typically led to isolated instances of quarantine/exclusion. With the Governor’s comments last week and the rising case rates schools are taking additional precautions.”

Sports Leadership and Management Academy of Nevada in Henderson, which is offering some in-person classes under a hybrid model, is transitioning to distance learning through the Thanksgiving holiday, Feiden said.

“We also have a few schools that are considering conducting distance learning the week following Thanksgiving,” she said.

SLAM’s website has a message that states: “SLAM! Nevada has reverted back to full distance learning until at least November 30th.”

The charter authority’s next regular meeting is Dec. 4. Feiden said she expects there will be another agenda item related to in-person learning “and our team will continue to closely monitor the statewide data to inform any recommendation to our board.”

Legacy’s Southwest Las Vegas campus — which has about 1,600 students in kindergarten through eighth grade — began the school year with distance education, with the exception of about 50 children of employees who were on campus receiving supervision as they logged on to distance learning classes.

The school later brought back about 100 students with special needs for in-person morning sessions four days a week.

And in mid-October, kindergarten and first-graders returned under a hybrid model, a mix of in-person and remote instruction. About 40 percent of students in those grade levels, though, were choosing to continue with distance education.

With all of those groups, the school had about 270 students attending in-person classes — less than 20 percent of its student body.

Many Las Vegas Valley public charter schools started the year with fully distance learning, but started to bring back a limited number of students to campus when the second quarter of the school year began in mid-October — often, with either half-day sessions or a cohort system where students rotate which days they come to campus.

The Clark County School District announced Monday it will continue with distance education through the end of the semester.

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