Sparks High School student Susy Meza talks about missing the rest of her senior year due to the COVID-19 crisis. Reno Gazette Journal
The Washoe County School District is considering all options for the return of school on Aug. 10 including half day sessions, students attending school a day or two a week and the possibility that full-time digital learning is here to stay with classrooms remaining closed
A decision on what school will look like won’t be decided until at least at the beginning of July, according to Superintendent Kristen McNeill.
WCSD survey on reopening schools
What: Anonymous survey can be completed through 5 p.m. June 26
“We are hopeful that will happen,” said McNeill about letting parents and staff know by next month what school will look like amid the coronavirus pandemic. On March 15, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak mandated the closure of all schools in the Silver State, which was extended through the rest of the school year.
“If there is anything we have learned, flexibility is the name of the game in this,” said McNeil on Monday about how mandates on school closures could come from Sisolak and county health officials right up until the start of school in August or even once school had already started.
The district is asking families, students and staff for priorities going into the school year through a survey. The survey of 12-15 questions can be filled out through June 26. The results will be made public at a board meeting in July.
Questions are being used to gauge if families are willing to send students back if there is a vaccine, if masks are required and if there are daily temperature screenings.
Also being asked is if the public wants the district to focus on making schools safe to return or if administrators should focus on improving digital education.
The survey briefly addressed digital learning and what could be done to make it better including if families and staff would like to see more virtual lessons and how much of a priority should be made getting students access to school counselors and social and emotional learning.
“More than anything we are using this survey to get input to get data and information on priorities,” said the district’s Chief Accountability Officer Ben Hayes. Hayes said nearly 6,000 people had already completed the survey, but he had not looked at results to make any kind of educated guess on what the public wants.
“I think it is very different what schools would look like opening up next week with what school would look opening on Aug. 10, because so much can happen between now and then,” McNeill said about the possibility of a spike in COVID-19 cases.
Siobhan McAndrew tells stories about the people of Northern Nevada and covers education in Washoe County. Read her journalism right here. Consider supporting her work by subscribing to the Reno Gazette Journal.
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