CARSON CITY – Nevada’s school districts and charter schools will have extra flexibility as they are developing plans to reopen for the 2020-21 school year based on recently released guidance from the Nevada Department of Education (NDE).
Throughout the state, districts are evaluating multiple scenarios for safely reopening schools, including in-person instruction following social distancing protocols, hybrid learning models combining in-person and distance learning, and full-time distance learning.
NDE’s Guidance for Path Forward Programs of Distance Education outlines minimum requirements to address the needs of diverse learners, ensure the accessibility of technology or access to paper materials if needed, and engage parents and families. In addition, district and charter school distance education plans must detail how they will determine students’ academic and social-emotional needs at the beginning of the school year and provide necessary supports.
In addition to maintaining quality education and accessible learning opportunities, Jhone Ebert, NDE’s superintendent of public instruction, said the department is working to identify areas where they can improve teaching for the coming school year, including additional professional development.
In response to feedback from district and school leaders, Superintendent Ebert has provided districts and charter schools with the flexibility to schedule up to five additional professional development days during the 2020-21 school year for educators and staff. These professional development days are above and beyond the five allowed currently, and must be used to address topics directly related to the COVID-19 response and recovery, which may include but are not limited to:
- Delivering distance education;
- Developing methods to evaluate and/or support students’ preparedness for or progress during the 2020-21 school year;
- Health and safety requirements related to preventing the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses; or
- Social emotional support for students and staff.
All school districts and charter schools are required to develop plans for Path Forward Programs of Distance Education to be shared with their school community, including parents and staff, and receive approval from their governing body no later than 20 days prior to the first scheduled school day in session. Distance education plans may be incorporated in and approved concurrently with district and school reopening plans being developed based on the Framework for a Safe, Efficient, and Equitable Return to School Buildings.