ELKO – Mask mandates in schools will not be enforced through law enforcement, according to Interim Superintendent Jeff Zander.
In a statement released on Friday, Zander addressed an allegation made by a parent.
“The school district has been made aware of a false accusation in which a school resource officer prevented students from attending school for not wearing face coverings,” Zander said.
He explained that School Resource Officers, comprised of Elko Police Department officers and Elko County Sheriff’s deputies, will not enforce masks on campuses. The responsibility falls to principals or vice principals.
“Law enforcement is not in charge of enforcing face-covering policies in schools,” he said. “It is the site administrators’ responsibility to enforce student conduct policies, and our SROs are in compliance with this policy.”
Since the mandates were activated, the school district has been “in very close contact with schools regarding student conduct and has received no reports of issues resulting from the mask mandates,” Zander continued.
Several schools throughout Elko County with Covid-19 outbreaks of more than 10 students require masks and maintaining social distancing of three feet.
This week, Carlin, Owyhee and Wells combined schools reported virus outbreaks, activating virus mitigation protocols stipulated in Gov. Steve Sisolak’s Emergency Directive 048.
Those schools joined Elko High School, Flag View Intermediate, Spring Creek High School, Adobe Middle School, Liberty Peak and Spring Creek Middle School that announced outbreaks on Sept. 9 and 10.
According to Elko County officials, 97 new Covid cases were reported Thursday, bringing the total of active cases countywide to 582.
Zander said that the school district is currently working on a web dashboard to report cases and exclusions at schools. He asked the community “for their support as we follow CDC guidelines on how to help mitigate the spread of Covid-19 as we see outbreaks continue to result in our schools.”
“It is our goal to keep our schools open and provide a safe and respectful learning environment for our students and employees,” Zander continued. “In order to do this, and to prevent further outbreaks, we need to comply with the mandates of layered protections for our students and employees.”