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NV Teachers Back Standards for Distance Learning

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Monday, March 15, 2021   

CARSON CITY, Nev. -- Even as more Nevada kids are heading back to their on-campus classrooms, public-education advocates are calling on school districts to improve distance learning.

A sizeable percentage of students has chosen not to return to in-person learning just yet, in part because of the fear of transmitting COVID-19 to older family members in multigenerational households.

Jaia Peterson Lent, deputy executive director of the National Center on Grandfamilies, said job loss during the lockdown led more people to move in with relatives.

"Families may be choosing to live together because they are facing economic challenges, or because they need help with child care," Lent explained. "Certainly families' lives in terms of childcare needs have been turned upside down during the pandemic."

Social distancing can be almost impossible when grandparents also are caregivers.

Research shows nationwide, Latino families have the second largest share of multigenerational households, at 27%, just behind Asians at 29%.

And education advocates say fully funding services like counseling and technical support during distance learning are an issue of equity.

Rebecca Garcia, president of the Nevada Parent Teacher Association, thinks distance learning should be standardized, because the way it has played out varies widely between schools.

"Not only have the majority of kids in Nevada been distance learning this whole time, a lot are going to continue to distance learn," Garcia pointed out. "And we still, nine months in, haven't made it a consistent, quality opportunity for all kids."

Garcia is also a moderator of a Facebook group dedicated to families in the Clark County School District, where she said the choice to stay with distance learning or go back to school has been a hot topic.

"Anecdotally, I can definitely tell you that parents have been making decisions based on, 'Grandma lives with us, you know, it's not just about whether or not my child will get it. It's about whether or not they're going to bring it home,'" Garcia explained.

The publication Business Insider looked at census data and found almost 50,000 multigenerational households in Nevada. That's the ninth-highest rate in the country, at just over 4%.


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