Carson City school trustee: ‘Most people want to come back’ to school
Carson City School District trustee Joe Cacioppo hopes he and his fellow board members can put many minds at ease before bringing students back for the start of school officially on Aug. 24. They’ve been taking in a number of concerns in the past few months, and this month he hopes site administrators, staff members and parents will be especially careful as 2020-21 begins in the midst of a pandemic.
“I think things have been going well, and it’s not all a factor of what we can control,” he said. “The reaction I’ve been getting has been pretty close to 50-50. The teachers and staff I’ve been hearing from are pretty evenly divided about their concerns. They all want to come back to school, but they’re very much concerned about the safety measures in place and what does all that mean.”
Speaking Tuesday night after the Board of Trustees’ regular meeting, Cacioppo reflected a few minutes briefly on how he and his cohorts on the board can best respond to the complex issues at stake. Public comments at the meetings since the pandemic was declared in March have been fraught with concerns about keeping children safe, the schools clean, assisting staff members adequately and others impacting every department of the Carson City School District.
Cacioppo said the recent parent intent survey was helpful in revealing where parents stand on what kind of education they want for their children in the current circumstances, emphasizing “most people want to come back” to school but there are still “questions that are hard to answer.”
“The parents are very much in the middle with some that want to come back to school and some that are, ‘how dare we come back to school, we should stay remote,’ ” he said of the results from the recent parent intent form the district sent out to families. “It was an even breakdown.”
The board itself showed a split decision with its 4-3 vote on July 28 adopting its hybrid model that allows student groups to spend two days on campus and three days at home.
But remaining cautious and forthright as much as possible with staff professional learning days about to begin will be one of the most important things the district can do in this new scenario for everyone, Cacioppo said.
“Personally, I really would feel a little more comfortable if we had more proactive screening measures in place, and I know that’s not the cure-all, but I think that goes a long way to putting some folks’ nerves at ease,” he said.
Cacioppo represents Carson City’s District 7, and he reports on the activities that occur at Carson High School and Student Support Services. He said he asks for continued patience for everyone – staff members, parents and community members – as the district continues to receive daily updates and changes.
“We’re going to do the best we can to minimize any severe reactions,” he said. “That’s really everybody’s goal. We don’t want anybody to get sick, and we want these kids to get an education and it’s really going to be a struggle, and we’re going to have to hit the ground running and do the best we can for these students to make sure they get a quality education. I think that’s what everyone’s going to be looking at is how do we achieve that.”