- The Clark County School District recommends distance learning for the school year 2020-2021.
- The District staff will go to Tuesday’s School Board meeting with the recommendation.
- Trustees will likely discuss and vote on the educational model, a mixed learning model, and the fate of professional development for district employees.
- While trustees and teachers’ unions support the plan, parents are worried that the option will cause difficulties for some working families.
The Clark County School District released a statement on Monday recommending the start of distance learning for the school year 2020-2021. The District staff is set to go with the recommendation to the School Board meeting that is scheduled for Tuesday. Trustees will discuss and possibly vote on the educational model for the next school year.
A reopening plan framework that was approved on July 9 is also an option. It involved a mixed learning model where students physically attend classes twice a week and remain at home three days every week. While the trustees provisionally approved the options, the board will give the final approval.
The board will also decide on whether district employees should have 10 days of professional development at the start of the year in person or virtually, as well as whether secondary pupils will take a semester-based schedule, four-course, or a more conventional six- or eight-class schedule. However, board documents do not seem to show that the district will issue recommendations on these options.
Opinions of Trustees
The recommendation follows mounting pressure on Clark County to imitate other major school districts that have decided to keep classrooms closed during the pandemic.
On Monday, Lola Brooks, the board president, said that it was vital for the district to care about student and staff health and safety. She added that many people were nervous about distance learning because the abrupt closure of schools didn’t allow students and staff to prepare themselves. Brooks believed that educational professionals and families will adapt if they were given more time to do that.
Trustee Danielle Ford was also happy with the recommendation. Ford has supported a gentle start to the school year where classrooms would be open for vulnerable students but most learners would learn online.
Teachers’ Response to Survey
74% of teachers favor distance education over school buildings reopening, according to a Clark County Education survey. Just before announcing the recommendations, the union said it doesn’t support opening schools because of the rising cases of COVID-19.
Also, a National Education Association of Southern Nevada survey revealed that 56% of all employees felt uncomfortable going back to work if schools reopened. Similarly, a survey by Guinn Center for Policy Priorities showed that at least half of all employees were uncomfortable with returning to work.
Colleen McCarthy has been leading a group of parents who are concerned about the reopening plans of the district. She said working families who can’t work from home or take leave will find distance education difficult. McCarthy also said that distance learning in the fall will mean minimal contact with teachers and no required material.