LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — For Clark County School District's full-time virtual learning model to work in theory, all 320,000 some students would need some kind of internet-enabled device and internet service.
That in itself is a daunting task with recent data showing the district would need an additional 96,000 Chromebooks. But even if students have access to technology, there are major barriers standing in the way of real learning.
"I'm stuck. I'm stressing out. I'm super overwhelmed," said Yvonne Perez, who adopted her two grandchildren two years ago.
Her oldest is in third grade and was one of thousands to receive a Chromebook from CCSD this spring. But she said just because he has it, doesn't mean it's helping him learn.
"If I can't as an adult understand how to submit these assignments or what even is the assignment, how is this kid supposed to know what it is?" she said.
As someone with an 8th-grade education who needs to work full time, she said she is ill-prepared to help her children with virtual learning. Both have IEPs and need special services.
"It's not that I don't care for my grandchildren," she said. "It's just, we have to have a roof over our head."
This sentiment is reflected in recent U.S. Census data that shows the poorest parents spent about the same amount of time helping their children with learning during shutdowns as wealthier people.
CCSD's recent school reopening survey accounted for more than a third of CCSD students. And while 45% percent reported having access to a personal device, students like Carla Beltran said learning can still be a challenge.
"Sometimes we don't have internet or sometimes my mom's phone freezes," the 9-year-old said at a recent broadband workshop hosted by Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto.
She said she has used her mom's phone to access CCSD virtual learning since the pandemic began.
"Since I don't have a printer nor a computer, it's very difficult for me to do my work because I have to write it on paper all the time and sometimes I can't even do that," Beltran said.
The challenges are enormous but Kirsten Searer with the Public Education Foundation said there are a lot of people working to address the issues and help families across Southern Nevada.
"We're seeing a lot of action on this right now. A lot of conversations with internet providers and the districts and private companies. I'm hopeful that we can get as much done as possible before school starts."