LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- With young children now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, it's possible Clark County School District could see remote learners switch back to in-person learning at the start of next semester.

"We are going to see a little bit of a fallout for parents whose kids do just want to go back in person," said Anna Marie Binder, a Nevada Learning Academy parent and founding member of the school's PTA.

Many parents decided on remote learning due to COVID-19 concerns. This semester, enrollment at CCSD's public, online school NVLA exploded by nearly 1,500% from last year.

Binder said their reasoning was predominantly "the health risk associated with family members that lived within the home if it wasn't the student themselves."

But since then, COVID-19 vaccines were rolled out for schoolchildren younger than 12.

"This really does close the gap and the loop for our all of our children who are currently in schools," said Dr. Christina Madison, a public health expert and professor of pharmacy practices. "It's about a third of the dose that was administered to adults and adolescents, and they still had the same robust immune response."

Binder added that initial interest from parents for NVLA has seemingly slowed, though she said that could be because they closed enrollment earlier this semester.

While CCSD's communications employees didn't respond to our request for information Monday, roughly 20,000 students remained in some form of distance education, district-wide, as of September.

Binder said some parents are loving the flexibility remote learning provides.

"A lot of our families like are still taking advantage of traveling, so they do like the NVLA option."

Parents in a Facebook group for NVLA gave split feedback on whether the vaccine's availability for kids will have any influence on their decision to keep them enrolled there. One parent said that as soon as she heard the vaccine was available, she took her student out.

Binder said NVLA could benefit, as a whole, from fewer students amid an ongoing staff shortage district-wide.

"At this point, anyone leaving to go back to campus is going to be a little bit of a relief for the minimum staff that we have ya know keeping it all together," said Binder.

School generic exterior

Students gathered outside a CCSD school building. (FILE) 

Elementary school teacher and union president for NEA Southern Nevada Vicki Kreidel said that if we see a big migration of those students heading back into schools, it's likely the neighborhood schools who could feel the most strain when it comes to class sizes, because they're required to take walk-ins at any point in the school year.

"My concern would be COVID protocols. My classroom is maxed out as far as space for social distancing," said Kreidel.

She also voiced concerns about there not being enough staff to meet the demand of in person students, specifically at neighborhood schools.

"After winter break, I have a lot of teachers who are leaving," said Kreidel.

CCSD did not respond to FOX5's media requests on Monday.


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