CCSD can’t guarantee education for every child through coronavirus crisis

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The everyday barriers facing K-12 students in Southern Nevada make it impossible to guarantee every child will be able to adapt to distance learning through the coronavirus crisis, warned the head of Clark County School District Monday.

CCSD Superintendent Jesus Jara made the sobering comments to School Board trustees during an emergency meeting Monday morning. He said efforts to continue education during the state-mandated closures — scheduled to last until April 16 — are already in effect and will continue. However, the challenges related to technology and additional resources needed by students make it all but impossible to “guarantee” that students will be able to learn.

One-third of the district’s 320,000 students would be unable to access an online classroom from their homes, said Jara. Many lack a home computer or the internet.

Many students in the district require special accommodations because they are English Language Learners or have Individualized Education Plans. Those present additional barriers.

On Friday, Gov. Steve Sisolak issued an executive order directing all school districts and independent charter schools to submit plans for how they will guarantee education through distance learning by Monday. Sixteen of the state’s 17 school districts — and all of its independent charters — submitted plans and have been approved.

CCSD is the lone holdout.

It also represents the majority of K-12 students in the state.

Jara said he wants to change the wording of their commitment to state the district will make every attempt but may not be able to, given the significant technological challenges faced by students and their families. The district is exploring other low-tech options, including printing out weekly packets for students to complete.

April Corbin Girnus
April Corbin Girnus is an award-winning journalist with a decade of media experience. She has been a beat writer at Las Vegas Sun, a staff writer at LEO Weekly, web editor of Las Vegas Weekly and a blogger documenting North American bike share systems’ efforts to increase ridership in underserved communities. An occasional adjunct journalism professor, April steadfastly rejects the notion that journalism is a worthless major. Amid the Great Recession, she earned a B.A. in journalism from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, where she served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper. She later earned an M.A. in media studies and a graduate certificate in media management from The New School for Public Engagement. April currently serves on the board of the Society of Professional Journalists Las Vegas pro chapter. A stickler about municipal boundary lines, April enjoys teaching people about unincorporated Clark County. She grew up in Sunrise Manor and currently resides in Paradise with her husband, two children and three mutts.