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KUNR Today: Errors In Corrections COVID-19 Reporting, 40% Of WCSD High Schoolers Failing A Class

A close-up image of school lockers.
Alexa Ard
KUNR Public Radio

Here are your local news headlines for Monday, Mar. 1, 2021.

4 In 10 WCSD High School Students Failing At Least One Course
By Isaac Hoops

The Washoe County School District recently released data showing nearly 40% of high school students are failing at least one subject, and almost a quarter are failing in two. Superintendent Kristen McNeill said on Friday that a significant number of students are failing even more than two classes.

"14% of our students were failing three courses or more, and that's not easy to take. If a family feels that their student is struggling, I urge that family to get connected with the school," McNeill said.

Sessions will be offered during spring break to help these students and an intensive summer school session is in the works.

Also, the number of students missing 18 days or more of school, known as chronic absenteeism, has tripled district-wide from the previous year. Pacific Islander, Black, Hispanic and American Indian students are experiencing much higher rates of chronic absenteeism than their white counterparts.

Washoe Vaccinates Record Of 2,070 Residents On Saturday
By Lucia Starbuck

The Washoe County Health District administered slightly more than 2,000 COVID-19 vaccines on Saturday. Most of these shots went to seniors 65 and older. This comes as the county is reporting an average of 41 daily cases over the last two weeks. There haven’t been any deaths in Washoe over the last four days.

Statewide, there have been an average of about 300 daily cases, along with 9 deaths per day over the last two weeks.

For more information, you can find Nevada’s COVID-19 dashboard here, and Washoe County’s here.

Lucia Starbuck is a corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project.

Nevada Prison System Reports Errors In COVID-19 Case Counts
By The Associated Press

Nevada officials said the Department of Corrections has been incorrectly reporting COVID-19 cases in facilities because of data entry errors. The prison system and the Department of Health and Human Services released a joint statement Friday saying errors were found in data posted to the state coronavirus dashboard, which tracks cases and deaths in state facilities. Records obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal said the errors caused cumulative case counts among prisoners and staff to drop by 268 since last week. The health department said the issue resulted in duplicate entries and the inclusion of negative test results as positive cases. Nevada on Saturday reported 459 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases and 15 additional deaths.

Renaming Airport After Reid Estimated To Cost $5M To $7M
By The Associated Press

Airport officials are estimating that renaming McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas after former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada will cost between $5 million to $7 million. McCarran spokesman Chris Jones say the estimate is preliminary but it’s more than the estimated $2 million cost that was floated by officials. Jones told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the $2 million estimate was based off a smaller scale name change proposed years ago. The Clark County Commission voted last month to rename the airport to Harry Reid International Airport. The commission’s vote calls for the name change to be paid for entirely with private donations.

Tribes Want More Control Over National Parks
By Savannah Maher, Mountain West News Bureau

The Biden administration has promised tribal nations a voice in the federal government. Some in our region hope that extends to the management of national parks.

Multiple federal laws require that tribes have access to their sacred sites and a voice in how they’re cared for, including those managed under the National Parks Service, but there’s no standard for how those laws should be enforced.

"I would argue that they haven’t been enforced in the past," said Julia Bernal, the head of the Pueblo Action Alliance, which advocates for communities with ancestral ties to Bears Ears, Chacho Canyon and other federally managed sites.

She said Biden’s promises to consult tribes on the management of these sites isn’t enough.

"Tribes don’t want any more listening sessions. I think we’re beyond the point of this idea of tribal consultation. We’re at the point of free, prior and informed tribal consent," she said.

Bernal said that should include the ability to veto development projects.

Across our region, many tribal leaders are on the same page. The Navajo and Blackfeet Nations are among those that have sought authority over nearby parks during the pandemic.

Northern Nevada Tribe Co-Stars In Peter Gabriel Music Video
By The Associated Press

Members of a northern Nevada tribe play a supporting role in a new music video by rock star Peter Gabriel. Drummers and dancers from the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe north of Reno are among more than two dozen artists worldwide who appear in the video remake of “Biko.” Gabriel first recorded it as a tribute to South African anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko. Biko was killed in police custody in 1977. Tribal Chairwoman Janet Davis told the Reno Gazette-Journal it was an honor to be part of the project. She says there's a new awareness today of the same sort of racism that has oppressed people for centuries.

Lucia Starbuck is an award-winning journalist covering politics, focusing on democracy and solutions for KUNR Public Radio. Her goal is to provide helpful and informative coverage for everyday Nevadans.
Savannah comes to Wyoming Public Media from NPR’s midday show Here & Now, where her work explored everything from Native peoples’ fraught relationship with American elections to the erosion of press freedoms for tribal media outlets. A proud citizen of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, she’s excited to get to know the people of the Wind River reservation and dig into the stories that matter to them.
Isaac Hoops is a former student reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
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