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School reopening in planning stage

School officials aren’t quite ready to lay their cards on the table regarding three plans to reopen.

The Douglas County School Board is scheduled to meet 4 p.m. July 21 to hear completed plans with a little room to spare to adapt.

Parents and teachers said the earlier they get information about what the school year will look like the better.

More than 70 people were logged onto the Zoom meeting to hear an update from Superintendent Keith Lewis.

“I don’t believe it is in our best interests to release portions of the plan,” Lewis said Tuesday. “It should be brought forward in its entirety.”

Board Trustee Karen Chessell said that whatever the district does, it’s possible it will have to be changed.

“The governor could come up with other requirements depending on what phase of reopening Nevada we’re on,” she said “Every step of the way there are going to need to be adjustments.”

Parent Danielle Frolander-Smith said her biggest concern would be whether she is going to need to find child care over the school year.

Meneley Elementary third-grade teacher Trish Michitarian said she hoped the plan would come up with a plan that takes teachers’ concerns for their safety into consideration.

“The concept of social distancing is extremely difficult in elementary classes,” she said. “A lot of teachers are concerned for their own safety. Cramming 23 students in a classroom is impossible.”

Brooke Thompson asked that the district get the information out to parents as soon as possible.

“The sooner the better for working families,” she said.

Trustee Keith Byers said that it’s entirely possible the district will start with one plan and have to migrate to another.

“We could start completely online and wind up in person,” he said. “My question is if we’re moving between these, will that decision be driven by state guidance or will be create a decision tree.”

A challenge to distance learning is a lack of Wi-Fi in 69 homes across the district, Lewis said. He said the district will be looking at using federal coronavirus funds to purchase hotspots for those homes.

Gov. Steve Sisolak closed the schools for the spring 2020 semester on March 15 due to the coronavirus outbreak.