Las Vegas schools are offering full-time employees $2,000 to remain at work amid the ongoing winter surge in COVID-19 cases in the country.
In a statement released Thursday, the Clark County School District Board of School Trustees said it had approved an agreement to provide eligible regular and full-time employees employed as of Jan. 1, 2022 with a $1,000 COVID-19 retention bonus.
It will also pay an additional $1,000 bonus to eligible regular and full-time employees who are employed on May 25, 2022, bringing the total amount to $2,000.
The Clark County school district, the nation's fifth-largest, added that it has allocated approximately $66 million in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds to cover the expected costs of the retention bonuses.
The news of the bonuses comes just days after the Clark County School District was forced to announce a five-day pause due to the extreme staffing shortages based on the high number of positive COVID-19 cases, local station News3LV reported.
According to The Associated Press, around 2,100 of nearly 19,000 licensed staff members in Clark County were absent at one point last week.
In a Twitter thread following the school board's decision to pause classes, Nevada Gov. Steve SisolakSteve SisolakLas Vegas offering teachers up to K bonus to remain at work amid COVID-19 surge Seven most vulnerable governors facing reelection in 2022 Eleven interesting races to watch in 2022 MORE (D) — who is facing reelection in 2022 — said that "he is absolutely committed to keeping schools open for in-person learning" and "keeping our students, educators and staff safe."
"There is no substitute for having kids on our campuses, learning in classrooms with their teachers and peers. And I will use every resource I have as Governor of Nevada to keep schools open for in-person learning. I know the School District leadership shares this same goal," he added on Tuesday.
Teachers unions across the country have said that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has not been communicating well enough with educators and teachers as COVID-19 hospitalizations hit record numbers across the US, according to Reuters.
COVID-19 rules, whether students should or should not be going to school during the omicron spike and the general health safety of public schools have turned into contentious issues across the country.