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Teachers express skepticism over Clark County School District hybrid learning plan

Posted at 5:34 PM, Nov 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-12 10:47:26-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Many in the Clark County School District aren’t convinced yet about going back to the classroom, as the school board says it is prepared to vote on an upcoming proposed hybrid learning model.

The Clark County Education Association President Marie Neisess says her union needs some convincing.

“As an educator, I would want a robust plan that includes testing and contact tracing," she said.

Neisess says the union is negotiating with the CCSD over a hybrid plan that would return some of the teachers and the kids to the classroom. But first, she wants to see mandatory testing of everyone who enters the building.

“The bottom line for us is the safety of educators and the staff as well as students and also a choice for educators,” Neisess said.

RELATED STORY: Clark County School District considering hybrid learning transition plan

Dr. Fermin Leguen, the chief health officer for the Southern Nevada Health District, acknowledged in an Oct. 22 board meeting the positivity rate was up in Clark County but said he would support a decision to go forward with a hybrid plan.

“We will have to engage in more mitigation activities and enhancing everything that we can do at the schools if your decision is to open the schools,” he said.

For Vicki Kreidel, president of the National Education Association of Southern Nevada, she would like everyone to stay home.

“The best option would be the stay online doing distance learning until they develop an effective vaccine. That’s really the only option we have," she said.

RELATED STORY: Education Support Employees Association responds to school district's hybrid reopening plan

Her union wants the plan rejected, saying it’s not a good time with COVID cases spiking statewide. Kreidel doesn’t believe the hybrid system would work and fears many teachers would not want to go back into the classroom.

“Yes, this is difficult, absolutely and it’s more difficult for some students than others, but it’s going to be more difficult when CCSD loses 30% of their teachers or more. Not just to the disease but people are leaving,” she said.

The classroom experience won’t be the same if students are allowed back in. Teachers say to expect something different.

“When you’re in the classroom and you’re six feet away from your friend, you can’t talk to them, you can’t interact with them,” Kreidel said.

She says because of social distancing, her students have to remain at their desks, and they will not get the hands-on learning and face to face interaction they’re used to.

“Normally we do small groups at the elementary level and even up higher. I can’t do that,” she said.

Under CCSD’s hybrid learning plan, students will be in the classroom on certain days depending on what group they’re in. They’ll eat their lunches at their desks. Playgrounds, water fountains, and field trips are off-limits.

Neisess says teachers will be also be limited with the way they teach the kids.

“I imagine most classroom teachers are going to have to teach from their desks, something we’re told not to do because you want to walk around. You want to see where they’re at,” she said.

No more full classroom bathroom breaks. Students will be going to the bathroom one at a time.

“There are sometimes they get into mischief when they go to the bathroom and they see their friends there and I’m just concerned about their safety," she said.

Kreidel says she wants parents to understand the campus environment will be very different for their kids.

“There is nothing about the plan we have that is normal," she said.

If the hybrid method plan is approved, all teachers and a few of the students would return to school on Dec. 1 with more students coming back to class in January.

13 Action News reached out to CCSD trustees. Trustee President Lola Brooks responded Tuesday saying no comment before Thursday’s meeting.

Henderson Mayor Debra March also shared her letter in support of the CCSD possibly moving forward with a plan to safely reopen public schools.