Like most major school districts in the country right now, the Clark County School District is closed because of the coronavirus.
More than 320,000 students in the Clark County School District are stuck at home for at least another three weeks.
The board of trustees held a meeting Monday, granting emergency powers to Superintendent Jesus Jara. Jara told KNPR's State of Nevada that the powers will allow him to keep the operations of the district running and allocate money in a way that is needed. But decisions will still have to be ratified by the school board.
One of the most immediate tasks ahead will be helping students who don't have access to devices that can be used for distance learning to get those devices.
"The team is looking at using our carry-forward dollars within our federal money so we can buy some devices and try to get some devices in the hands of our children," he said.
Of the 17 school districts in Nevada, Clark County was the only one that did not have a distance learning plan ready for the state.
Jara pointed out that other districts had been working on a plan for several years but he and his staff were trying to turn it around in just a few days.
"When we looked at what the state was asking, the Department of Education was asking me and the board president to sign, that we would ensure that each pupil would have distance learning opportunity and after consulting with legal counsel that I couldn't ensure that all children would have access," he said.
He said he went to the school board with a plan to do the best that they could to get kids an education during the closure and that is what they submitted to the state.
Jara said there was not enough time or money to turn around a plan that ensured all students in the district could participate in distance learning.
Besides how to provide distance learning for everyone, there are several other things that are uncertain, including just how long the closure will last and what impact likely cuts in the state budget will have.
The superintendent said when classes restart things will be different.
"We're going to take this opportunity to reinvest our dollars. To spend a lot of time in helping our hard-working teachers," he said.
Jara praised the work of the teachers and staff during this difficult time. He said principals, teachers and other education staff are doing what they can to help students.
One of the concerns about closing down schools is that for many students it is the only place where they get nutritious meals. Jara said the school district has 28 sites where students can get food. Plus, Three Square is offering food for people in need.
Overall, Jara had words of encouragement for students, teachers and parents.
"They got to take care of themselves first. Our educators always jump in to take care of others. So take care of yourself, because I need everybody there," he said, "For our parents, keep the kids engaged."
Jesus Jara, superintendent, Clark County School District
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