Nevada Department of Education Issues Guidance Providing Flexibility for the 2020-21 School Year

June 24, 2020

CARSON CITY, Nev. – The Nevada Department of Education (NDE) today released guidance to provide flexibility and ensure transparency as Nevada’s school districts and charter schools are developing plans to reopen for the 2020-21 school year.

As Nevada remains in Phase 2 of the COVID-19 recovery, districts and schools are creating plans to address multiple potential reopening scenarios, including in-person instruction following social distancing protocols, hybrid learning models where in-person instruction is offered concurrently with distance education, and full-time distance education as necessary if public health conditions require future local or statewide school building closures.

The 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.

“Our top priority is to promote high-quality and accessible learning opportunities for all students – without regard to means, ability, or at-home support – while ensuring the health and safety of students, staff, and communities,” said Jhone Ebert, Superintendent of Public Instruction. “The Department of Education has worked with district and school leaders to identify areas where we can improve teaching and learning for the 2020-21 school year, including by providing additional professional development to educators and staff so they are prepared for success in multiple potential scenarios.”

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.