Las Vegas Sun

June 17, 2021

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CCSD to consider partial return to classrooms in January

Kensington

Mark Lennihan / AP

A student has his temperature taken before entering PS 179 elementary school in the Kensington neighborhood, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, in the Brooklyn borough of New York.

A proposal to return Clark County School District students to classroom learning in January after months of closures because of the pandemic calls for two days of weekly in-person learning and three days of remote learning.

Families will also have the option for their children to continue exclusively online. The CCSD Board of School Trustees will be presented the hybrid proposal on Thursday. 

The 200-page plan was released today, detailing everything from cleaning strategies to safety standards. There’s even a form letter to be sent to families if someone at school tests positive for coronavirus.

Schools have mostly been closed to in-person learning since the outset of the pandemic in mid-March. A hybrid model was also pitched in the summer, but it didn’t pass.

Dr. Fermin Leguen, acting chief health officer of the Southern Nevada Health District, told trustees last month that the virus positivity rate shouldn’t be the lone factor to consider when discussing a possible return.

Other factors include: the mental health of students isolated at home and away from classmates, families hurting financially because a parent has to take off work to supervise at-home learning, and parents unable to help because of work or a language barrier. 

“This plan follows the health and safety guidelines provided for schools but also gives our children the opportunity to address academic gaps and engage with their peers and adult educators,” Superintendent Jesus Jara said in a statement. “We must embrace this work with a relentless sense of urgency. Our children are depending on us.”

Students will be divided into three groups. Cohort A would attend school Mondays and Tuesdays in-person, and learn online the rest of the week. Cohort B would learn online Mondays-Wednesdays, and in-person the rest of the week. Deep cleaning would be done on Wednesdays, aggressively during the day.

"The well-being of our students is one of our highest priorities,” said School Board President Lola Brooks. “The Board of School Trustees will consider multiple factors as we review the transition plan being proposed by staff."

The plan calls for high school seniors and juniors, sixth-graders in middle school, and elementary school students in pre-K to second grade to return Jan. 4. On Jan. 11, the other grades would come back.

The proposal also attempts to address concerns about teacher and staff safety, calling for gloves, disposable gowns, hand sanitizer, three-ply masks and student/staff cloth face coverings to be available. Additionally, the plan says A Task Force Initiative for Educator Safety and Screening (T.I.E.S.) is being developed to provide virus testing and health monitoring.