A look at the learning plan for private and charter schools

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Plans look a little different for private and charter schools as the 2020/21 school season prepares to reopen. 8 News Now Reporter Sally Jaramillo spoke to principals, superintendents, and CEOs of a few different schools, to learn what their learning plans involve.

“I think it’s a challenge when you shutdown athletics when you shut down the arts, and you shut down all the after school activities — it’s not just the education — it’s that social piece where the kids find their passion after school when all that gets shut down. It takes a toll on everybody,” said Steve Buuck, Chief Executive Officer Faith Lutheran Middle School and High School.

The typical back to school looks a little different for the various charter schools, with some opting for classroom settings, while others are staying virtual.

“Our plan really has two options for our families: One is to come back five days a week face to face,” Buuck said. “And then we also have an option for families who aren’t comfortable yet sending their kids back; we’re going to tape every single class every day.”

However, not every private and charter school will do everything exactly the same.

“We’re sponsored by the Clark County School District, [and] we made the move to online learning and our face-to-face components just suspended temporarly,” Timothy Lorenz, the Superintendent of Schools at Odessy Charter Schools said.

“Our board decision that was made a little over a week ago was to return all virtually,” according to Lee Esplin, the principal of Somerset Academy Skypoint.

When it comes to health in schools, the CEO of Faith Lutheran Middle and High Schools says it will be taken very seriously.

“Some of the things would include checking temperatures every morning, doing some health screening — we’re extending passing periods we have one-way hallways serving lunch from five different places,” Buuck said. “We’re not gathering for chapel every week like we normally would.”

In addition, desks will be cleaned between every block, and every student and teacher will be required to wear a mask, social distance, and even wear a shield.

“Right now, our numbers show about 6% of our students are going to choose what we call option two, which is [to] stay home and about 94% of them seem to want to come back five days a week,” Buuck said.

The superintendent at Odessy Charter Schools says they’ve been fortunate to have scheduled their blended learning model and feel fully equipped.

“So we’re going to begin online, and then what we’re hoping is that this thing improves with COVID-19, and we will slowly begin to shed back into our online combined with the face-to-face component of our program,” Lorenz said.

Over at Somerset, the principal says the goal is consistency.

“Is that perfect for all of our families, no. No matter what we do, it’s not perfect for all of our families, but we had to look at ‘what can we do to be consistent with our kids,'” said Lee Esplin, the principal of Somerset Academy Skypoint.

And although all plans are different, everyone has the same need for flexibility.

“We’re going to relly on the southern Nevada Health District or the governor or CDC,” said Buuck. “If they would need to completely shut us down, we’d be ready to pivot, immediately and [go to] fully remote learning if we have to.”

Some schools’ plans changed after the governor’s press conference last week. Charter schools that were set to open before August 24 will now be virtual until that date.

Of the 19 charter schools that opened Monday, six switched from the hybrid model to distance learning. Those schools are as followed:

  • Discovery Charter School
  • Equipo Academy
  • Founders Academy
  • Quest Charter Academy
  • Signature Preparatory

An additional 19 charter schools are set to open the week of Aug. 17.

So far, Pinecrest has switched to full distance. Other charter schools 8 News NOW spoke with say are still figuring out if they will do that or keep their blended plans.

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