USA/ 21 July 2020/ Author/ Kristen DeSilva/ Source/ https://www.fox5vegas.com/
The Clark County School District Board of Trustees is holding a meeting Tuesday night to discuss the reopening process for the district.
The Clark County School District confirmed staff will make a recommendation to begin the school year with full-time distance education at the Board of Trustees Special Meeting on Tuesday.
“As the health and safety of our students, families and staff remains our top priority, and due to the continuous increases of COVID-19 positive cases, the distance education option is currently the most responsible course of action,” a spokesperson for the district wrote.
According to CCSD, licensed professionals, administrators and support professionals will report for duty on August 5. The period before students begin classes will be used for professional learning to “maximize the distance education experience.”
Lola Brooks, president of the Board of Trustees, said CCSD Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara is recommending the shift to distance education based on the current rates of infection.
“Most districts granted their Superintendent the discretion to work with health officials to determine which instructional model was appropriate to begin school in because infection rates are unpredictable and this requires adaptability in planning,” Brooks said.
Brooks said Jara would have already announced the shift, but the additional step was required due to the previous motion by the board.
Brooks cited concerns around the blended model, including not meeting the needs of students with higher needs, access of devices and internet access and an unnecessary health risk of in-person instruction.
The second item of discussion in the Tuesday meeting will allow the board to vote on the locations of staff for professional development opportunities, Brooks said, while the third item will allow the board to vote on schedules for middle and high schools.
“Online school is definitely not ideal. But losing thousands of lives would be far worse. Keeping people alive is better for the collective good,” Vicki Kreidel, president of National Educators Association of Southern Nevada, wrote on Facebook. “We just need to get through this pandemic. It won’t be easy, but we can do it!”
Trustee Danielle Ford said she agrees with the plan.
“I’m not really sure how we’re going to solve it yet,” Ford said on internet access for all students, “because I don’t believe the superintendent is open to accepting computers and devices that aren’t Chromebooks and Chromebooks are on back order.”
Ford said Chromebooks will be on back order until October. She said she also worried about student meals and childcare.
“I’m really hoping that when we start to reopen, we look at our youngest first and we look at our most vulnerable kids first, and we open slowly like that in a five-day-per-week model,” she said.
In a statement Tuesday morning, Clark County Educators Association said it does not currently support a model in which kids go back to school in person.
“We understand that decisions regarding the reopening of the school district and the health and safety of staff and students are extremely difficult, not easy, nor will please everyone. CCEA has been in frequent contact with the Superintendent on this issue and we are committed to working through this with CCSD.
Accordingly, CCEA’s position regarding the reopening of the School District is that we should implement a distance learning model and not have the schools reopen until it is safe to do so. We took a recent survey of educators and with over 11,000 participating 74% indicated they did not want the schools to open but wanted a distance learning model.
We want to make clear that CCEA does not support opening the schools at this moment given the escalation of COVID-19. If there is any plan to reopen schools, then our position is that it should be by choice for educators and choice for parents if they feel it is safe to return.
Furthermore, our position is that a comprehensive safety program that has testing, ongoing testing, quarantine measures, contact tracing, precautions for those with high risk health factors, protective equipment and a robust sanitation and health system in place for every school, classroom, campus, buses, etc. This needs to be in place before any employees are returned to school buildings. CCEA has been part of a task force that has been created that developed a safety, testing, and screening program that has been presented to the Governor’s COVID-19 Response team where funding from the CARES ACT is available to implement it. Governor Sisolak can make this happen by releasing funds to implement it.”