January 27, 2021
Many Clark County parents and students are rejoicing at the recent news that the Clark County School District (“CCSD”) has reached a tentative reopening agreement for certain students. It’s important to note that the deal reached between the Clark County Education Association and the CCSD is to send some children back to the classroom, but not all.
Educators, staff, and parents alike are somewhat concerned about how safe and practical it is to send students back to school. For this reason, the school board is taking its time deciding when schools will fully re-open, who should attend in-person classes and the safety protocols that need to be in place.
When Will In-Person Learning Start In Schools?
While there is a tentative agreement in place to send some students back to school, there is no definite date set as of yet for that to occur. Even when the plan is finalized, in-person learning will only be available to pre-K students through third grade.
Additional allowances will be made incrementally, so the school district has an opportunity to continue the expansion of the plan to more students based on the success of the current transition.
Generally, it seems that in-person learning could start as early as February 2021. However, that could change depending on many factors. For now, no timeline was included in the agreement.
What Does The Plan Include?
The tentative agreement includes identification of who is eligible to return to in-person learning, safety protocols, as well as special requests from teachers. Among the key takeaways from the agreement are the following:
- When the plan is in effect, certain students (pre-k through third grade) will be allowed to attend in-person school sessions.
- The first students to return will be those with special education needs.
- The agreement includes a “robust safety plan.”
- It gives educators a choice to return in-person or remain remote.
- The school district will prioritize telecommuting for teachers and staff in “vulnerable populations.”
The safety protocols included in the agreement align with the guidance from the CDC and the Southern Nevada Health District. They include, but are not limited to:
- COVID-19 contact tracing
- Daily symptom screening
- Monthly COVID-19 testing
- Personal protective equipment for all staff
- Strict classroom and school cleaning and sanitization standards
When Will All Students Be Learning In-Person?
As the pandemic continues to ravish the country, it’s challenging for CCSD or any other authoritative body to assess the situation. With that in mind, there is still no definite date for the current plan or future iterations of it.
While certain students may be allowed back into the classroom as early as next month, the exact date will be dictated by public health concerns and scientific data. For now, the school district is just laying the groundwork for a transition to a somewhat hybrid version of in-person learning for select groups of students.
The details of the plan and when it goes into effect are a developing story that parents and educators should keep an eye on.
What to Expect While You and Your Family Wait
If there is one thing the COVID-19 pandemic has taught Clark County and those around the world, it’s to “hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.” In the best-case scenario, students in pre-K through third grade will return to a hybrid version of in-person learning sometime in February.
However, it’s possible that distance learning will remain in place for the foreseeable future for all students. With the COVID-19 infection numbers continuing to rise, it’s nearly impossible for a school board, politician, or public health official to give exact reopening dates.
With this in mind, it’s essential to remain patient during the process. You can expect regular CCSD updates in the meantime. When the changes go into effect, the school board will contact the parents and students who can return and provide them with the plan and safety protocols.
Being a parent is difficult during this period of uncertainty and fear. Parents have the difficult choice of balancing their children’s safety against important learning needs. Trying to balance work and your child’s education at the same time is a difficult task. That’s especially true for parents that have younger children or kids with special needs.
Distance learning has been in effect in Clark County since the beginning of the pandemic. All indications point to the continuation of that learning model until school board officials, parents, and educators are confident that they can provide a safe learning and working environment for all parties.