CCSD teachers, parents discuss returning to classrooms as President Biden releases timetable for reopening schools

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Reopening schools: that has been on the minds of many across the valley for 10 months now, as we still deal with the coronavirus.

Some say while the Clark County School District (CCSD) has made some progress, more needs to be done — especially with new developments in Washington, D.C.

“I’m dying to get back in front of these kids,” said Kristan Nigro, a kindergarten teacher at Schorr Elementary School.

Kristan Nigro — kindergarten teacher at Schorr Elementary School

The CCSD Board of Trustees recently voted to allow in-person instruction for small groups of students, on a voluntary basis. Nigro says her school does not have a concrete plan yet, but staff have been going through the proper protocols to figure out who exactly will return.

“It helps me feel very good about moving forward and to potentially getting kids back into the classroom,” Nigro said.

President Joe Biden has pledged to reopen most K-12 schools within 100 days. An executive action issued Thursday directs the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services to give guidance on how to safely reopen schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“That’s the direction we have to go in. We support that,” said John Vellardita, Executive Director of the Clark County Education Association (CCEA), the local teacher’s union.

John Vellardita — Executive Director of the Clark County Education Association

CCEA says while small group instruction is a good first step, it wants CCSD to create a proposal that follows the president’s lead.

“The timeline to do that is fast approaching and, at some point, there’s diminishing returns,” Vellardita said. “You can’t make those kinds of decisions too late.”

Parents like Eileen Guilbeault, who has three children in CCSD schools, say virtual learning has been tough on their kids.

“Two of them are having a very hard time with the online, virtual platform,” Guilbeault said.

Parent Eileen Guilbeault

But for many, staying healthy is still the top priority.

“I do have one of my children that is very worried about getting sick,” Guilbeault said.

It all comes down to creating a balance, to ensure students — and staff — are protected.

“I want to be able to see CCSD open up schools in a safe manner,” Nigro said.

CCEA acknowledges that President Biden’s 100-day timeframe is ambitious. But they believe with proper support from federal and local leaders, it is possible.

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