School Board nixes outside use of school facilities during pandemic
Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter
Although he has more recently issued other strict restrictions, Governor Steve Sisolak’s easing of social gathering restrictions in October left the Lyon County School District facing the decision about allowing the use of school facilities by community groups and for its own extra-curricular activities.
At its Nov. 17 meeting, the district’s Board of Trustees voted to continue not allowing the use of school facilities, except for the Boys & Girls Clubs until
The Board also voted to consider school extra-curricular activities on a one-by-one basis. With sports currently scheduled to start in January, the Board will revisit the item in December to consider whether its schools will participate in whichever sports are allowed to proceed.
Superintendent Wayne Workman said the decisions were necessary because school districts were excluded from liability protections under SB4, passed during the special session this spring.
“This is a precarious and dangerous situation for all school districts in the state. In fact, this board and district administration have already taken a huge risk in reopening schools for in-person instruction because of this law,” Workman wrote in the board memo on the item for the Nov. 17 meeting. “However, it was determined that the risk was worth it because it was the best thing to do for our students and families.”
He said these and other questions must be answered in a manner that best protects the district from potential litigation, but also balances our mission of educating the whole student
Regarding sports, Trustee John Stevens pointed out that professional and college leagues that are currently or have been playing have been testing participants regularly, and said if high school players aren’t going to be tested, it will increase the risk and make the district potentially liable. Workman said players, coached and officials will be tested once before participating, but there is no capacity for ongoing testing
However, the District’s legal counsel, Don Lattin, said sports offers the district the most legal protection as long as it is following all NIAA and Governor’s guidelines.
Even if sports and other extra-curricular activities are allowed to proceed, one other hurdle must be overcome before the district decides its teams and clubs can participate.
Workman said the district’s current guidelines allow for one student per seat on buses, which limits them to about one-third capacity, which could be a limiting factor as far as getting to contests, especially in those sports with larger rosters. That means the District would have to decide whether it would be willing to send teams on multiple buses for road games, or allow students to travel with their parents, which Workman said raises other liability issues.