The Clark County School District’s decision to cancel two days of classes due to staffing shortages isn’t a move to return to distance learning, an assistant superintendent told reporters Wednesday.
“It is not a pivot to distance education at this time,” Monica Cortez, assistant superintendent of the student services division, said at a news briefing a day after the school district announced a five-day “pause” in classes due to “extreme staffing shortages” triggered by a major surge of COVID-19 cases in the county.
The “pause,” which will begin on Friday and extend through Tuesday, will only result in the loss of two school days wrapped around a long weekend due to the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday on Monday. During that period, all classes and activities for students will be canceled, the district said.
Students will make up the lost school days on Feb. 7 and April 25. Employees will participate in a staff development day Friday virtually from home and those who are required to work Tuesday will also do so remotely.
Cortez said she’s confident classes will be resume as planned on Wednesday and called the five-day break “an adjustment to our calendar.”
But she also noted that students have had access to Chromebook laptop computers and Canvas, the district’s online learning platform, since school began in August. Students take their Chromebook to and from school with them on a daily basis “so that we’re always prepared,” she said.
As for the timing of the pause, attendance is historically low around holiday weekends and there’s usually an increase in employee absences the day before and after a long weekend, Cortez said.
She said the break is intended to give employees and families the opportunity to stay home to slow the spread of the highly contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus, rest if they’re sick, get vaccinated or undergo COVID-19 testing if needed.
She said the district is encouraging employees and families to stay home during those five days, but acknowledged it’s a “huge ask.”
“We’re hoping the community will support us,” she said.
Child care options
The school district’s announcement about class cancellations has left some working parents scrambling to figure out child care options. Safekey before-and-after school programs run by local municipalities at district elementary schools won’t be operating during the five-day pause.
But some municipalities, as well as private day-care providers, are offering options for families.
The city of Henderson is running its “Battle Born Kids” program for children ages 5-11 and “Battle Born Teens” for ages 12-14 during the school district’s pause. It’s open to families across the valley — not just Henderson residents.
It will operate from 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, Monday and Tuesday with early arrival and extended stay options. It costs $27 per child per day.
To register, visit bit.ly/HendersonBBK.
The city of North Las Vegas is offering child care to its own employees, as well as first responders and medical personnel from across the valley, on Friday and Tuesday at Neighborhood Recreation Center.
Clark County, the city of Las Vegas and YMCA of Southern Nevada aren’t offering additional child care options for families during the five-day pause.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Nevada will also observe a five-day pause due to staffing shortages and a significant increase in case numbers by closing all of its clubhouses Friday, Monday and Tuesday.