CCSD tells teachers to ‘open doors outwards’ to improve ventilation, raising safety concerns

By Maddie White

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LAS VEGAS (KVVU) — Teachers are preparing their classrooms to welcome students in less than two weeks. As such, the Clark County School District is advising staff on best practices to protect classrooms from COVID-19 during high community levels.

The district sent an email to staff on Monday recommending that they increase ventilation and air circulation in their classrooms. They said “to open the doors outwards”. They also said events should take place outdoors whenever possible during the high community spread.

However, teachers wonder if this will lead to safer classrooms and buildings.

“In light of everything that’s happened in terms of school safety, especially what happened at Uvalde, it seems quite ironic to have this. Especially when we try to lock down schools even more,” said Ryan Fromoltz, a high school teacher at CCSD.

After all, Uvalde’s shooter was able to enter the school through a series of unlocked doors.

When FOX5 asked the SDCC Police Department about this recommendation, spokesperson Lt. Bryan Zink told us it was unclear what the district meant by “[opening] doors out,” but said he was working to get more details. He added that he assumed they were interior doors rather than exterior doors.

Speaking of exterior doors, Superintendent Jesus Jara said they are working “fast and furiously” on creating a single entry point on select campuses.

“The big high schools, right? There are plenty of entry points, right? So when we’ve assessed all of our schools during COVID, and maybe even a bit before COVID, we have a list of schools that have too many entries,” Jara said at a press conference during the summer.

Jhone Ebert, Nevada Superintendent of Public Instruction, told FOX5, “We also train for emergencies with local law enforcement.”

She said they were working diligently to ensure “the building hardening is in place”.

So, the million dollar question: without compromising safety, how do you improve air circulation in classrooms?

The Clark County School District received $777 million in US bailout ESSER funds, which can be used for ventilation and filtration upgrades.

CCSD installed ionization air purifiers last fall, but only in nurses’ offices and seclusion rooms.

Yet some teachers told us they wanted the focus to be on the classrooms as well.

“The air purifier in my classroom, I bought it myself,” Vicki Kreidel, a district teacher, told FOX5.

“We should all individually choose our own donor to earn this money,” said Rebecca Kennard, another teacher in the district. “I don’t see where the disconnect is, where they can’t actually implement these elements in our classrooms.”

The request was echoed by John Vellardita, executive director of the Teachers Union Clark County Education Association, who said his wish for these federal funds was “that the district can apply these resources to help, you know, say, the ventilation system in some of these classrooms.

Lt. Zink said all doors would of course be secured if a lock or shelter in place was called.

SDCC Media Relations said they could not release details of the progress of their security upgrades, such as consolidating the campus entrance, for fear that those with poor intentions use the information to their advantage and cause harm.

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