LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — March 16 marks one year since the start of online learning for students in the Clark County School District. On this day in 2020, school buildings around the state closed, and students remotely logged online to access classes.
Governor Steve Sisolak made the decision to close school buildings in the 5th largest school district and the rest of the state to try and slow the spread of COVID-19. Many people expected online learning to only last a few weeks, not an entire year.
“It’s such a trip. It’s [the] Twilight Zone,” said Oshua Curtis, a parent at CCSD. “I think when it first started, I was thinking, ‘yeah, an extended spring break.’”
But the father of six later realized the reality of the situation, which included adjusting to distance education.
“So we had one computer — that’s it — so when they wanted us to do home learning, we had one computer with four kids, well, at the time, it was three kids because our kindergartner wasn’t in kindergarten yet. I was thinking, ‘yeah, we definitely need some help with this,’” Curtis said.
The district immediately transitioned to online learning and made paper packets available for students at food distribution sites who did not access WiFi or a device.
“All my teachers are assinging stuff on my Google classroom,” one student 8 News Now spoke with a year ago this week outside Cram Middle School said.
The principal unlocked the doors to let kids pick up items needed for assignments.
“I just shoved everything into my backpack, pretty much,” the student said.
At that time, no one realized it would be 12-13 months before they would ever step back on campus.
“This year, it seems like it’s just been a year of constant change,” said Rebecca Garcia, the president of the Nevada PTA.
According to Garcia, the closure highlighted the district’s equity issues and lack of resources in schools to open sooner.
“We’re one of the lowest funded states in America, and so the ability to return kids to classrooms was delayed in many cases,” she said.
“I did not expect it to go this long at all,” Curtis said.
He welcomes the district’s effort to transition students and staff back to in-person learning in the buildings.
“This year has been challenging, but there has been growth,” Curtis said.
Pre-kindergarten to third-grade students started hybrid learning this month, and the other grade levels will follow in the next few weeks.
State Superintendent Jhone Ebert posted a video online celebrating the distance education response efforts over the last year. According to her, on January 5, Nevada was the first state to confirm every K-12 student had a device and internet access while participating in distance education.