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Nye County students return to classes Monday

In just three days’ time, Nye County students will be returning to class but the 2020-2021 school year will be anything but usual, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic that continues to wreak havoc on communities all across America.

After months of consideration and several subsequent changes in its intended direction, the Nye County School District has prepared a plan for school re-entry which calls for a vast majority of the students in the county to participate in a hybrid schooling model.

Under the hybrid model, students are separated into two different cohorts, with students in cohort A scheduled to attend classes on campus on Mondays and Wednesdays while those in cohort B are slated to take part in face-to-face classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. For the remainder of the school week, students will participate in online instruction.

According to information printed in the Nye County School District COVID-19 Reopening Guide, which was issued on Wednesday, Aug. 19, “4-day/week schools, except Beatty schools, will institute 100% in-person model, four (4) days a week for a shortened day followed by distance learning in the afternoon. Pahrump and Beatty schools will institute a hybrid model with a slightly shortened day to provide office hours for 100% distance learners.”

Originally, the school district had indicated that all elementary schools in the county and all secondary schools outside of the Pahrump Valley would be able to conduct 100% in-person classes. However, those plans were changed just a couple of weeks later, with the school district announcing that elementary schools in Pahrump would now be required to observe the hybrid schooling model, as those schools were not able to meet social distancing requirements otherwise. Not long after this change, another was instituted, with the school district deciding that all schools located in Beatty would also need to use the hybrid model in order to adhere to social distancing measures.

There are a total of 5,391 K-12 students enrolled for the 2020-2021 school year, according to information obtained from the school district on August 17.

The largest school in the county is Pahrump Valley High School, where 1,399 students are enrolled, followed by Rosemary Clarke Middle School, where enrollment was reported at 1,080. The county’s smallest school population is at Duckwater Middle School, where there are just six students in total.

Of the more than 5,300 students enrolled for the coming school year, a large percentage have been signed up for 100% distance learning, meaning those students will not participate in any on-campus classes. A reported 1,091 students, or just over 20% of the county’s student body, have been categorized as virtual-only learners, although this number could possibly go up, as a further 648 students had not yet been categorized in the information provided on Aug. 17.

As for the worry about what might occur if a student or staff member contracts COVID-19 during the school year, the COVID-19 Reopening Guide has a fully detailed plan as to how it would address such a situation.

“If the impact of the pandemic were to force a classroom, school or district-wide shutdown, students and teachers would transition to a virtual learning platform for a specified time as determined by NCSD in conjunction with local health officials. K-12 will use Canvas as their learning management system. Virtual classes may require meeting modalities such as Google Meet. All students and staff will follow learning and teaching expectations, as outlined within the remote learning contract,” the COVID-19 Reopening Guide states in part.

The COVID-19 Reopening Guide also contains a breakdown of this year’s school calendar, highlighting holidays, non-student attendance days and other important dates throughout the year.

School begins on Monday, August 24 for students in grades 1 through 12. For Pre-K and kindergarteners, classes begin on August 27.

One key date for parents to keep in mind is Sept. 17, which will be the Official Count Day for the Nye County School District.

Students will observe winter break from Dec. 21 through Jan. 1, 2021 and spring break from March 8 through March 12, 2021.

The 2020-2021 school year is set to conclude on May 19, 2021 for four-day per week schools and May 20, 2021 for all other schools.

For more information on the Nye County School District’s plans for the coming school year visit www.nye..k12.nv.us and click on the 2020-2021 information page link. The COVID-19 Reopening Guide can be found under the “Memoranda &Press Releases” section.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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