Carson City schools can’t reopen in normal fashion, superintendent says
In a letter distributed to all students, families, employees and community members, Carson City School District Superintendent Richard Stokes announced that due to the emergency directives from the Office of the Governor, schools within the district cannot reopen in normal fashion to begin the 2020-21 school year.
The school district hosted a recent survey inquiring feedback on how students, parents and families would like to attend school this fall. A total of 4,374 responses were received in the English survey and 139 responses were received in Spanish, representing more than half of the entire student population of the school district.
Although a large percentage of responses and data obtained from the survey indicated a desire to return to school normally without any noted restrictions, the governor and the Nevada Department of Education have made it clear that schools are to follow the emergency guidelines set forth and create a plan for a hybrid learning model in which in-person and remote learning will be combined to make up an average school week.
The full copy of the letter that was sent out below reads as follows:
June 30, 2020
Dear Carson City School District Students, Families, Staff, and Friends:
The changes in our lives due to the COVID-19 Pandemic are many. Unfortunately, the impact of the virus continues to change the most fundamental aspects of how we live, including how we hold school, which is the purpose of this letter. Due to the emergency directives from the Office of the Governor, I must announce that at this time, schools within the District cannot reopen in normal fashion to begin the 2020-2021 school year.
Emergency Directive 022 from Governor Steve Sisolak and subsequent guidance from the Nevada Department of Education require schools to employ a variety of pandemic-related restrictions, in accordance with Phase 2 of his Reopening Plan. Once developed, each district’s plan is to be communicated to parents, staff, and school communities and presented to the district’s Trustees for approval at least 20 days prior to the first day of school. For Carson City School District, a draft of the proposed plan will be presented at the July 14 School Board Meeting and the final plan will be presented at the School Board Meeting scheduled for July 28, 2020. Please be advised that the starting date of school in the fall could be delayed. Please watch for updates.
To develop a specialized educational plan, a committee of staff, parents, trustees, and community partners was organized to study the restrictions, survey responses, district resources and then recommend a proposed plan for the 2020-2021 school year. Because schools must operate within the requirements of social distancing and the limitations of having less than 50% occupancy in the buildings, the Committee is looking to create a hybrid system of on-campus and at-home learning for the start of the 2020-2021 school year. Other options like full remote learning with teacher-led support will also be available for families who desire to keep their children at home. While the specific details of the plan are still being developed, the Committee recognizes the need to reduce the burden on families as much as possible while providing the best educational opportunities for students.
We wish to thank those who participated in taking the School District’s Survey regarding the opening of the next school year. To see the survey results, please press Ctrl + click on this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/results/SM-36998QJ37/. To view the Survey results from the families who took the Survey in Spanish, please use this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/results/SM-WXKS6QJ37/. You will notice from the Survey results, the majority of participating families preferred to return to school in the fall without restrictions. Unfortunately, what citizens and school officials desire is somewhat different from what is being required by State officials. If you have an opinion on school operations due to COVID-19, we encourage you to exercise your civic freedoms by contacting the Governor’s Office to share your thoughts regarding the expected restrictions to reopen schools.
Richard Stokes, Superintendent and the Board of Trustees