LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- The record voter turnout for the 2020 election is boosting turnout down the ballot, as the debate over schools still dominates the top ticket.
A typically overlooked election, the Clark County School Board of Trustees has garnered plenty of interest from parents over the controversial decision to switch to distance learning for the fall 2020 semester.
The candidates are:
- District A: Lisa Guzman and Liberty Leavitt
- District B: Jeff Proffitt and Katie Williams
- District C: Evelyn Garcia Morales and Tameka Henry
- District E: Alexis Salt, Board President Lola Brooks
Each candidate received a Q & A session from the CCSD Parents Facebook Page.
SHOULD SCHOOLS REOPEN? IF SO, HOW?
Here is how they each responded:
School Board President Lola Brooks, District E candidate:
I realize people are anxious to return to school campuses but it's vital that we ensure that in person instruction options are meticulously planned and handled as safely as possible. In my opinion, a transition plan should include instructional model choices for families and staff, addressing any existing issues with distance education, and auditing mitigation strategies prior to opening school doors in any capacity.
Alexis Salt, District E candidate:
First and foremost, no staff or student should be forced into a classroom in the middle of the pandemic if they feel unsafe. With numbers surging in Nevada, it would be negligent to reopen our schools at full capacity, and we must prioritize voluntary returns when cases decrease. While we work to slowly bring students and teachers into the classroom, we must refine our online school and ensure our students have the mental health and socialization resources they need. Staff must be trained on trauma-based instruction to assist a smooth return when that time comes: one traumatized child can disrupt a class all year long in normal circumstances. A classroom of children who have been isolated for months need to be treated with care and expertise.
Liberty Leavitt, District A candidate:
I am in strong support of schools reopening. However, we need to ensure our students, educators and staff are provided with sound policy and procedures along with protective gear. Both private and charter schools are providing in-classroom instruction and we need to look at their best practices and do it quickly, our children are falling behind.
Lisa Guzman, District A candidate:
Teachers, education support professionals, and our kids want to return to our schools more than anyone, however, our staff and kids are not expendable and any return must be done in the safest and healthiest manner with recommendations from doctors and scientists. Educators and parents have been asked to do even more for students since the outbreak of the coronavirus. We have been provided an opportunity to re-open better than we were. When it is safe to reopen per CDC and WHO positivity rate recommendations of 5% or below, we must ensure that we rebuild schools with an emphasis on equity, returning to the classroom safely, protecting the most vulnerable students, and helping educators navigate their rights and responsibilities amidst the COVID-19 crisis.
Tameka Henry, District C candidate:
I would like schools to reopen in the safest way possible. I am a mother and there are days my children struggle with distance learning and tech issues. My child also has a compromised immune system (as does many of her teachers.) It will be important to me to have a system in place to ensure that testing, PPE, and contact tracing is available. It has to make sense. If it is safe...why is the Board still meeting virtually? What this current climate is doing to our youth and educational system will take years to reverse...I am taking notes and will think of interactions when its time to make decisions. Having various perspectives is helpful.
Evelyn Garcia Morales, District C candidate:
I recognize that this is a frustrating time for our CCSD families, students, educators, staff, and administrators. Nobody has ever experienced a health pandemic like this before. However, as a board, we have the responsibility to request data that helps us make clear and informed decisions, work with the Superintendent to set expectations, for example, to test our policies and procedures to keep us all safe. Above, all communication and clarity must be top priorities in any reopening plan. I look forward to earning the trust and support of our community by listening to concerns and finding solutions with my colleagues to reopen schools in a safe, efficient, and effective manner.
FOX5 is still awaiting a full response from both candidates in district B, and will post responses when both parties provide them.