LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — It’s official: Clark County students will only learn from home during the beginning of the school year.
Tonight’s decision came during an hours-long special meeting between the Board of Trustees, Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara and other District leaders.
And of course, it doesn’t come without some challenges.
The trustees had a difficult task tonight but say safety was the deciding factor for keeping kids at home.
There are still some concerns about parents finding child care and students having a strong enough curriculum. But the main focus tonight was on the actual technology.
“I don’t think the school district is listening to us,” said CCSD parent Laura Leon.
Parents passionately voiced their anxiety over distance education, while the Board of Trustees voted unanimously Tuesday for all students to begin the upcoming school year with at-home learning.
“It’s going to affect their future,” Leon lamented. Her daughter is a high school senior, but a previous brain injury makes online classes hard. “I’m really concerned that she’s not going to do well this time, and it’s going to affect her because it’s her most important year.”
Parent Sara George said she doesn’t think the District really has a plan. Her daughter has speech and development issues, and she’s worried the Individualized Educational Program for her kindergartner will be ineffective.
“It’s obviously not the same as her being in a classroom environment with the teachers for hours where they’re teaching her how to advocate for herself,” said George.
Many trustees also brought up the issue of inequity when it comes to students with no internet access.
“Those that don’t are going to slip down a slippery slope that is very hard to come back from,” said Trustee Chris Garvey during the meeting.
The District says they’re working with Cox Communications to give qualifying low-income families a discounted rate.
But there’s more to the plan:
“We are going to purchase hotspots, as well, so we’re going to do this both ways,” explained CCSD Chief Technology Officer Greg Halopoff.
Thousands of Chromebooks are still needed. But some say the decision to do distance learning is solely based on keeping kids safe.
“We don’t have the Chromebooks, we don’t have the internet hookup, but we don’t need to have somebody die. And somebody’s going to die!” said Trustee Linda Young.
Still, parents are not confident with what comes next.
“I don’t even think they have things right or a big plan of how they want to do things,” said Leon. “But it’s going to affect our kids.”
Trustees made two other key decisions tonight:
- Approval of a hybrid teleworking model for staff for their professional development days
- Voted to have traditional, year-long courses with school discretion for high schools, but semester-based courses for middle schools
The board will also receive updates every 30 days on COVID-19 trends in Nevada to guide any changes.
The following is the CCSD Board of Trustees full statement following the conclusion of the special meeting:
“The Clark County School District (CCSD) Board of School Trustees unanimously approved the school reopening plan recommendation presented by CCSD Superintendent Dr. Jesus F. Jara and staff to move to full-time distance education for the beginning of the 2020-21 school year.
The Board added provisions to receive health and wellness updates every 30 days before determining a return to hybrid or face-to-face instruction. Where applicable, schools in rural communities can return to face-to-face or hybrid education if they follow all state and health and safety guidelines and meet certain health and safety criteria. The Reopening Our Schools plan also allows for hybrid telecommuting for district staff and licensed professionals where and when possible.
The recommendation to begin the school year with full-time distance education when students return on August 24 was based on statistical data and trends in Clark County regarding the impact of COVID-19 and the information provided by local health officials.”