LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — CCSD Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara hosted a virtual meeting on May 4 to discuss updated distance learning, summer school plans, and how CCSD is preparing for phase one school reopenings once Governor Sisolak gives approval.
The virtual meeting included questions from local media to address concerns and rumors regarding what the upcoming school year will look like. Dr. Jara confirmed there will not be extended school days or an early start to make up for the school days missed.
Friday, Dr. Jara announced he is putting together a “working group” of parents, teachers, administrators, central office staff, operations, transportation, chaired by Deputy Superintendent and co-chaired by Jara’s Chief Operations Officer, with everyone coming together to look at what August will look like, whether the opening would be staggered or face-to-face.
The “working group” first meeting is expected to be held sometime within the first days of May, and those invited to join the group will be notified shortly.
School is scheduled to start back on August 10, 2020, according to Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara.
According to Dr. Jara, parents who have attended his bi-weekly meetings have provided feedback and will be involved in decisions that will shape what the new school year looks like.
A priority for the school district is cleaning the school buildings, working with community partners to provide PPE, while also having early conversations on what COVID-19 testing will be like.
8 News NOW’s, Cristen Drummond asked Dr. Jara how many students are expected to attend summer school this year and how many seniors are projected not to graduate and will in turn need continued education.
The numbers are not yet confirmed for summer school, but the number high school seniors in need of finalizing their graduation requirements were 6,300 during the beginning of school closures. The school district hopes to get many of them through their credit recovery.
Dr. Jara’s expressed he is always concerned about filling teacher positions, but that his biggest concern is the 500 teachers who are in the cue to be tested to meet licensure requirements. The Department of Education is expected to provide guidance on how they can continue testing remotely.
The CCSD HR Department resumed fingerprinting two weeks ago to slowly continue with hiring. Safety measures are also being discussed to protect employees with social distancing and partnering with local Southern Nevada Health District and University Medical Center to provide employee COVID-19 testing.
Cristen Drummond followed up with a question regarding the status of budget reductions from the state of Nevada. An update is expected sometime in May.
“We need a federal investment because this is not a time for us to cut the budget in education. This is a time to invest in our students. What COVID-19 has done is just really amplified the inequities that we have in urban school systems. I’m glad to partner with my colleagues across the country to provide funding for our students,” said Dr. Jara in regarding to proposed budget cuts.
Last week, Dr. Jara joined districts around the US in urging Congress to provide more money for public education.
Regarding social distancing guidelines, Southern Nevada is known to have the largest classroom size in the country. Dr. Jara said he concerned about the issues this will present and is in early conversations about how they can keep students at least 6 feet apart in the classroom, at lunch and recess.
Dr. Jara is looking at education standards and the expected learning loss due to the “COVID-19 slide” that has interrupted their education. Resources are in place to provide professional development to help teachers provide this adjusted education so students are able to catch up.
Dr. Jara shared that his peers are discussing a blended model for reopening schools. They are starting early to have a plan in place in time.