Clark County school board delays vote on reopening plan

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Board of Trustees for the largest school district in Nevada has delayed its decision on a plan to reopen schools for hybrid learning during the coronavirus pandemic.

Clark County School District Board of Trustees President Lola Brooks and Superintendent Jesus Jara made the decision Thursday to delay the vote after the 200-page plan was presented to the board, citing increasing COVID-19 cases, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

The plan made public Monday by the district, which covers Las Vegas and its suburbs, calls for a hybrid model of learning, with students attending classes in person two days a week and online three days a week. Parents would also have the option of having their children continue education online only.

The plan highlights numerous safety measures, academic policies and new protocols for including social distancing measures, facial mask requirements and contact tracing.

If approved, employees would return to work in schools on Dec. 1, and the plan would go into effect in January.

The district, which has about 307,000 students and 40,000 employees, started the new school year in August with distance learning and an exception for seven rural schools operating in-person classes.

Learning has been conducted remotely since the pandemic began in March. With cases spiking again in Nevada, Jara said the timing isn’t right to bring teachers and students back to schools.

“I’m never going to put staff and students in harm’s way,” Jara told the Las Vegas Sun.

Brooks said the plan should be given more time so any issues can be resolved before the plan is finalized.

Several trustees agreed with decision and Trustee Chris Garvey was the only board member who expressed frustration at delaying the vote.

“I’m a little disappointed we’re not going to be making any decision tonight as a board,” Garvey said. “We have committed all of our children to be in isolation for the rest of the year.”

The decision comes after Clark County Education Association President Marie Neisess said in a statement earlier this week that the union does not support any reopening “without a robust safety program in place with testing, contact tracing and proper PPE as well as choice for educators to continue working remotely.”

The National Education Association of Southern Nevada issued a similar statement.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

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