This is an ongoing regular feature on Washoe County schools, UNR and TMCC as they prepare to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic. This story is part of the Reno Gazette Journal’s essential back-to -school COVID-19 coverage. Please consider subscribing to the RGJ to support our work.
Manogue to require health form to be submitted daily
Monday, 3:50 p.m.
Bishop Manogue Catholic High School is planning for a hybrid fall semester rotating students between attending three days a week with two days at home.
It is similar to Washoe County School District’s plan to rotate high school students between in class and distance learning every other day.
But while public schools in the county will require masks of all students, Manogue goes a step beyond by requiring students and staff to wear a mask and a face shield.
When not in class, students will only be required to wear a mask.
In a letter to parents, Manogue Principal Brianne Thoreson said the school is planning for all three possibilities for the fall semester including a full distance learning planning or a full return to campus.
But it’s the hybrid plan that is likely under the state’s current mandates to reduce occupancy by 50 percent.
Under the plan, which must be approved the school’s board and the Catholic Diocese, the school said it will require parents to electronically submit a health form including verifying a student’s temperature every day.
Students will alternate schedule by last name with students in an “A” and “B” week schedule, learning at school three days a week and at home two days a week.
The private school said it purchased microphones and webcams and teachers will be teaching students at school and at home simultaneously.
WCSD attendance policy to get revamp
Monday 2:40 p.m.
The Washoe County School District is looking to quickly change its attendance policy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the new proposed policy, the district won’t hold anyone back or fail a student because of attendance. The district said it will also create attendance guidelines for distance learners.
The specific language district wants to get rid of is:
“…a student shall not be absent from school 10 percent or more of school days to be promoted to the next grade or 10 percent or more of class periods for a student to earn credit in a class.”
The tougher policy that said a student could fail a grade or a class was instituted last year as the district fought a chronic absenteeism problem facing one in five students.
In 2017-18, more than 12,000 students out of the district’s 64,000 missed a month or more of school.
Of the districts thousands of students who were chronically absent, 60 percent missed between 17 and 27 days of school.
The school board will first consider changing the policy at its meeting Tuesday. After a 13-day public review of the policy, it will come back to the board for a final vote.
The school board meeting starts at 2 p.m. Tuesday and will be livestreamed at RGJ.com
School headlines from last week:
UNR tracking COVID cases on campus
The University of Nevada, Reno is tracking students and staff who test positive for COVID-19 and making the information public on its website at www.unr.edu/cornavirus/cases. UNR is only reporting confirmed cases where the person may have been in contact with someone at a campus location.
UNR is including the date of the test and the last known date when the person was on campus.
UNR is doing widespread testing of all student athletes as they arrive on campus but would not say if those student make up some of the known cases. UNR is also including information from free testing it is doing at his health clinic. The free testing is for students and employees with symptoms or who may have been exposed. Students and staff can also self-report a positive test result.
Between June 30 and July 13, UNR reported 12 students tested positive for COVID-19.
COVID-19 live updates:What we know Friday in Reno, Northern Nevada
WCSD starts phone survey about returning to school buildings
The Washoe County School District has started calling the homes of its 64,000 students to see if they plan to be back in classrooms next month.
The district sent out calls earlier in the week to families of middle and high schoolers.
The district is trying to plan for what schools may look like when thousands return to buildings next month. Principals have been tasked with making sure there is a social distancing plan for keeping staff and students safe. A similar survey is expected to be done soon asking families if they plan to have their children take school buses.
The district is asking families to indicate if they plan to return to class, do full time distance learning or consider other options such as private schools or homeschooling.
For those who miss the call, the survey can be accessed on the district website or by clicking here.
Jill Biden ‘tours’ TMCC, says don’t return to schools until scientists say it’s safe
In a virtual campaign stop Thursday, Jill Biden promised free college if her husband is elected president.
Biden, joined by U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and U.S. Rep. Dina Titus, toured Truckee Meadows Community College’s manufacturing programming through an online Zoom press conference.
“When Joe Biden is president, they will be free,” she said about community colleges.
When asked by the Reno Gazette Journal after the event if children should return to school in the fall amid a spike in COVID-19 cases, Biden said students should not return until doctors and scientists say it is safe.
WCSD gets plans approved to open schools from the Nevada Department of Ed
The Washoe County School District received approval from the Nevada Department of Education for its plan for the 2020-21 school year.
The plans were submitted last week after a 10-hour school board meeting.
Plans include an in-person full day for elementary school students and a hybrid of classes and distance learning for middle and high schoolers.
The district also was approved to start the school year with five days of professional development on Aug. 10. Students will return to class on Aug. 17. Kindergarten students will start school on Aug. 24.
Cheer, band and JROTC are back for summer practice
The Washoe County School District will allow cheerleading, band and the Junior Reserves Officers’ Trainers Corps to begin practice on Monday.
The change comes after some parents were upset that the green light was given to Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association sports including football, volleyball and soccer. Students who participate in those fall sports have been allowed to go to practices at schools.
UNR has assigned 1,800 freshman a dorm room, the rest have to wait
The University of NEvada, Reno has divided incoming first year students in to three groups as it rolls out dorm assignments for the fall semester. .
The first group of 1,800 incoming freshmen have been assigned a residence hall building and a room.
Under this group, no more than 50 students are assigned per floor or wing. This aligns with the state’s phase three reopening rules, which were delayed by Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak at least until Aug. 1.
The second group is being referred to as phase three students. About 380 students have a building assignment but not a room assignment. Kennedy said if the state goes to a phase three plan by the start of the school year on Aug. 24, those students will be immediately assigned a room.
There are also about 300 students on a waiting list.
Siobhan McAndrew tells stories about the people of Northern Nevada and covers education in Washoe County. Read her journalism right here. Consider supporting her work by subscribing to the Reno Gazette Journal.