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KUNR Today: Students Back In Washoe County Schools, Sisolak Names New Chief Of Staff

An image of an empty classroom
Alexa Ard
/
KUNR Public Radio

Here are the local news headlines for the morning of Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021.

First Day Back At School For More Than 60,000 WCSD Students
By Lucia Starbuck

The Washoe County School District welcomed more than 60,000 students back to school Monday.

K-12 staff and students are required to wear masks at school and on the bus, and they should fill out a COVID-19 self-screening form every day before coming to school. Hot school lunches are free for all students, regardless of income, due to federal pandemic aid. The district is not requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for anyone at this time.

Governor Steve Sisolak’s recent directive requires unvaccinated student athletes and coaches participating in extracurriculars to get tested every week, and it supports random testing for anyone at school who hasn’t been vaccinated. The Washoe County School District superintendent told the Reno Gazette-Journal that the district is still working out those details.

Learn more here.

COVID-19 Metrics Continue To Climb In Nevada
By Lucia Starbuck

Nevada’s COVID-19 test positivity rate is more than twice as high as the state's recommendation. Statewide, the test positivity rate is 16.3%. That’s more than double the 8% rate the state uses as a benchmark for elevated disease transmission.

State officials are also reporting an average of nearly 1,000 daily COVID-19 cases over the last two weeks, along with eight deaths per day. There are over 1,200 people hospitalized in Nevada with confirmed or suspected COVID-19.

COVID-19 is climbing in Washoe County as well. The health district is reporting a seven-day average of roughly 146 daily cases of COVID-19. That average hasn’t been this high since late January.

Learn more about COVID-19 vaccinations in Nevada, or view the state and Washoe County COVID-19 dashboards.

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

Governor Sisolak Names Former State Senator Yvanna Cancela As Chief Of Staff
By Lucia Starbuck

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak has named Yvanna Cancela as his new chief of staff. Cancela is returning to Nevada after serving as principal deputy director of intergovernmental affairs for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a job she accepted in January.

Before that, Cancela became the first Latina state senator in Nevada, representing District 10 in Southern Nevada from 2017 to January of this year. She has also served as the political director for the Culinary Union and executive director of the the union’s affiliate, the Citizenship Project.

Cancela will begin on September 1, replacing Michelle White, who has served as chief of staff since the beginning of Sisolak’s administration in 2019.

Two Western Cities Registered Poorest Air Quality, Due To California Wildfires
By Robyn Vincent, Mountain West News Bureau

On Saturday, Denver’s air was the worst among international cities. Salt Lake City was No. 1 the day prior. “Unprecedented” is how University of Utah atmospheric scientist Derek Mallia described the pollution.

"Just looking at some of the measurements that we've made across Salt Lake City, and then the ones that I've seen in Denver, this is a factor of two, maybe even a factor of three greater than what I've seen in the past in terms of extreme air quality events," Mallia said.

What makes the air so unhealthy is the small particulate matter that wildfires on the West coast are emitting. The particulates can easily penetrate the lungs.

These smoke events are in line with trends over the last 20 years that show degrading air quality in the West. The haze precedes a new report from the United Nations about the extraordinary impacts of climate change, which likely include longer, more intense wildfire seasons.

Nevada One Step Closer To New Vehicle Emissions Standards
By Zachary Bright, The Nevada Independent

Under the "Clean Cars Nevada" initiative, the state will adopt California’s emissions standards and mandates on the auto industry to bring more zero-emission vehicles into the market.

As part of the compromise, companies can sell or manufacture zero- and low-emission vehicles to earn full or partial number of credits. Companies can also trade with companies who have extra credits.

Officials with the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection say the standards are a consensus between environmental groups and auto-manufacturers who negotiated for six months to determine how best to roll the standard out.

Read the full story at thenevadaindependent.com.

14-Year-Old Becomes Youngest To Swim Length Of Lake Tahoe
By The Associated Press

A 14-year-old California boy has become the youngest person to swim the entire 21.3-mile length of Lake Tahoe and complete the alpine lake's coveted Triple Crown. The Tahoe Daily Tribune reports James Savage of Los Banos completed the trip in 12 hours on Aug. 1. He swam from Camp Richardson in South Lake Tahoe, California to the Hyatt Regency in Incline Village. He earlier completed the other two legs of the Lake Tahoe Triple Crown, all 10 miles or longer. Savage and his mother, Jillian, agreed the physical training for the swim was easier than the mental endurance. But she says she never doubted he'd complete the trip.

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