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Parents, teachers voice opinions on school reopening ahead of CCSD meeting

The Clark County School Board received public comments by email for Thursday’s meeting, which have been posted online on the Board Docs website. Some of those who submitted comments would like schools to reopen immediately, while others believe it’s unsafe to do so. Several comments included requests to reopen schools in rural areas, where infection rates are low. Below are excerpts of some comments.

“I have 2 grandchildren doing the online distance learning. In my opinion they aren’t learning a thing. Our children are not getting the education that is needed. How do you expect children in Kindergarten and 1st (through) 4th grades to comprehend what the teacher is trying to convey? There are way too many distractions in the places these children are trying to learn… I am begging you to do something to get our kids back in the classroom and give them the education they need and deserve!”

Pamela Lowe, grandparent

“This distance learning has been very hard for us especially because you are trying to make it like run real school. But this is nothing like being in a real classroom with a teacher. Our kids need to be back in school with their peers learning.”

— Melissa Tu’ufuli, parent

“Distance learning has been approximately 10 times the amount of work as teaching in person. In addition, I do not feel students are learning as well as they do in person. I understand that hybrid teaching is a possibility for the future, however, I believe this will result in more than 10 times the amount of work, as teachers will be doing all the work for online learning, and still running a regular class in person. Please don’t do hybrid learning. Send us all back or leave us all online, recognizing that all online means we won’t have as many on grade level students at the year’s end.”

— Patricia Northrup, teacher

“Please, I am pleading with the board to NOT let their emotions outweigh their good judgement and to NOT allow us 5 day a week teaching YET. PLEASE, find a way to test ALL employees before returning (hybrid or more) and set up a policy that is MANDATED for employees and families to take temperatures ON SITE BEFORE we all enter the buildings. Please, also give teachers time to transition to going back to live teaching. There has been talk that you all want people back in buildings BEFORE the end of the semester. At least, make a plan for hybrid to begin in January. We have to have time. I think parents and teachers will calm down if they just know a date of moving forward.”

— Amy E. Brown, teacher

“I understand how important it is for students to be in school. I would love my own son to be able to return to school, but he has an airway disease and will not be able to. I am fortunate to have access to childcare, but even with that, I cannot risk bringing home the virus to my son or to my mother (who recently had a heart valve replacement) that cares for my son… I have dedicated my life and my passion to this job. I planned on being with the district for many more years as I WANT TO HELP ALL CHILDREN SUCCEED. I am really good at my job because I love it. I may be forced to walk away from my career as the health and safety of my son comes first. The health and safety of all our students and staff should come first.”

— Tia Taymar, assistant principal

“Both of my children are doing great in distance education. My son, who is a sophomore at Coronado, brought up a very insightful thought. He says he benefits from having virtual interaction with all six of his teachers, five days a week during distance learning. He expressed concerns that when we move into a hybrid model, he will have less access to his teachers. He is keenly aware that being in the building 2 days a week for synchronous instruction and working from home 3 days a week for asynchronous instruction would greatly reduce his access to his teachers and live instruction.”

— Bonnie Lamping, parent and district employee

“The current reopening plan was created and voted on in July. SO MUCH has changed since July- testing, data, health recommendations, treatment, public knowledge, working environments… Trustees please adjust your plan to work in our current situation based on current data, not a plan made in July when we all knew less. This virus moves and changes quickly, CCSD needs to keep up if they are going to meet the needs of students.”

— Meghan Bell

“Teachers, myself included, would be more accepting of a return to school date if a mask mandate was in place for not just teachers, but also students. While the elementary grades (below grade 4) would have gray areas here, students above age 10 need to be wearing masks to school. We have a dress code already, let it become part of the dress code.”

— Robynn Grattini, teacher

“Please do not endanger lives by opening up schools earlier than is necessary. If you do so, you will be risking lives without reason. I am teaching online, and it is ridiculously difficult, but I’d rather do that and stay safe than harm my students, my family, or myself.”

— Kris Newman

“Please ask CCSD Administration to work WITH rural principals in fully opening schools as safely and efficiently as possible and in accordance with state requirements. My son is regressing and needs face to face school in order to progress in his learning. His class only has 5 kids in it and they could safely social distance and use masks… I live in Moapa Valley. Our covid rate is so low there is no reason we shouldn’t be fully open out here.”

— Tameran McClure, parent

“PLEASE consider opening schools for the very youngest CCSD students. Distance learning is NOT a viable option for them. I have a Kinder and 1st grader at home and sadly we can’t give them the help they need as we also have a 1 and 3 year old to care for, along remote job duties, AND supervising a 4th and 6th grader… My kids who have all previously excelled in school, have been in GATE, and love going to school are now failing classes, are in tears a most daily with frustration, and we are on the verge of seeking treatment for them for depression.”

— Joshua Curtis, parent

“As a 20 year veteran of CCSD, I have never seen morale so low and anxiety so high as I have seen this year operating under the distance learning model. I feel each day that I am failing my students. No electronic innovation or gimmicky website is ever going to come close to replicating the quality of education children receive in-person. My students that need the most help are the ones suffering the most. Each week I see them fall further behind. This haunts me in a way I cannot fully describe.”

— Jeff Rapp, teacher and parent