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COVID-19 hotline for Clark County schools is overwhelmed as omicron surges

A close-up of a desk phone. Light is illuminating from one phone line, demonstrating an active caller.
Karolina Kabat
Flickr Creative Commons

Clark County School District’s COVID reporting hotline has been inundated with calls since starting the new semester. As omicron continues to surge, hundreds of families report difficulty getting through.

“I am sorry, but we are at maximum call volume. Thank you. Goodbye.”

This is the message many families are hearing when they call the district’s hotline to report a positive COVID test or exposure. Without information from call center staff to say when or if their children can come back to school, parents are left to decide what to do on their own.

CCSD launched its parent hotline in October, but Nevada PTA President Rebecca Garcia said she realized the overwhelming number of parents who were frustrated with hours-long wait times before coming back from winter break.

“The hotline problems are 100% since January 2nd,” she said. “That’s when it became really clear that they literally just didn’t even have the bandwidth on the phone line to handle the capacity.”

The district did not respond to requests for comment in time for this story but did announce earlier this week they’ve implemented a submission form to curb high call volumes. Parents fill it out and should receive a response in 24 to 48 hours.

“The other challenge is that this is only operating during normal school business hours,” Garcia added. “I think that’s one area where the district — although right now has just focused on trying to add more people during the day — extending the hours so that it has times that are more flexible for families would also be a positive step forward.”

Also, this week, district officials have decided to take a break from in-person instruction, extending their Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend by two days due to “extreme staffing shortages.”

The Clark County School District dashboard has the latest numbers on rapidly increasing COVID cases.

The photo included in this story is licensed under Flickr Creative Commons.

Lucretia Cunningham is a former contributing reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
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