The Clark County school board will hear a plan next week to transition the district to a hybrid instructional model over the coming months, according to a district statement released Wednesday.
A timeline for when staff and students might return to school buildings was not included in the statement, and reference materials for the Oct. 22 board meeting have yet to be posted.
The hybrid model was introduced in June as part of the district’s reopening strategy, and would see students take in-person classes two days a week and learn from home for three days a week, with Wednesdays used as a cleaning and preparation day on school campuses. The board ultimately voted in July to approve distance learning for the first semester of the 2020-21 school year, with regular updates on health data related to reopening schools.
While cases of COVID-19 in the community were in a downward trend as of the Sept. 24 meeting, they had crept up again by last Thursday’s meeting, according to Southern Nevada Health District Officer Fermin Leguen.
The district’s statement said it would continue to follow the guidance of health professionals.
“The health and well-being of our families and staff remain our priorities,” the statement said.
At Thursday’s meeting, and in a follow-up video to staff on Friday, Superintendent Jesus Jara said he was considering a plan to have “essential staff” return to school buildings, referencing a need to monitor students struggling with mental health.
“We’re not ready to open up, as our health data is not allowing us to do that,” Jara said in the video. “But we must continue to find ways to address the mental health crisis that our children are facing.”
Clark County Education Association Executive Director John Vellardita said Wednesday the union’s position is that schools must be safe to open, with safety determined by the rate of COVID-19 transmission in the community, and the availability of a testing, screening and contact tracing program for educators.
“Without those, we’re not in favor,” he said.