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Gov. Sisolak issues stricter mask requirements for K-12 students

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    LAS VEGAS, NV (KVVU) — Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak has issued an emergency directive requiring all K-12 students to wear cloth face coverings at school.

The new mandate was disclosed in a press release from the Nevada Department of Education on Tuesday night, which went over additional guidelines in Emergency Directive 028, including reducing social distance requirements for pre-school, elementary and middle school students from 6 feet to 3 feet.

Before the directive, the governor’s mask mandate exempted children 9 years old and younger from the requirement to wear a face covering in public.

“All kindergarten through 12th grade students (regardless of whether they would be exempt from a face covering ordinance based on their age) and all school staff must wear cloth face coverings while on school buses, in school buildings, or on school campuses unless approved for an exemption,” the directive states.

There are exemptions for students who are categorized as medically fragile under an Individualized Education Program or an existing health plan. Students and staff can also provide a doctor’s note that they are exempt, in accordance with exemptions listed in Section 7 of the mask mandate (Emergency Directive 024):

Individuals who have a medical condition or disability that prevents them from removing a mask without assistance.
Individuals when eating at an establishment that offers food service.
Individuals engaged in outdoor work or recreation.
Parents, vendors, volunteers, visitors and guests who are unable or unwilling to wear cloth face coverings “should not be allowed on school buses, in school buildings, or on school campuses,” under any circumstances or exemptions, the directive says.

According to the Nevada Department of Education, face shields are not equivalent to cloth masks per the Medical Advisory Team.

Changes in distancing requirements reduce the distance that students from pre-school to middle school are required to keep from one another, from 3 feet to 6 feet. High schoolers and staff must follow the standard 6-foot distance requirement.

Regardless of age, all school bus passengers will be required to maintain 3 feet of distance from each other, and 6 feet of distance from the driver.

The directive allows school districts, charter schools and private schools to request a variance from the provisions in the directive, if they can demonstrate that existing requirements “impermissibly restrict educational opportunities for students” and that community transmission rates are low enough to indicate that lifting requirements would not endanger students or staff. Requests for variances would be subject to review by the Department of Education and approval by the State’s Chief Medical Officer.

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Article Topic Follows: Regional News

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