CCSD and the Case of the 100,000 “Missing” Students


On April 21, Governor Steve Sisolak announced that Nevada was not quite ready to reopen and neither were schools across the state. In fact, “distance learning” will continue at least through the end of the spring semester. Faith Lutheran Middle and High School began online learning on March 18 but Clark County School District was the last district in the state to sign on to distance learning.

It was a smooth rollout for the Faith Family and according to Principal Scott Fogo, “The first week, we had about a dozen kids who did not log-in but we contacted their parents and now every student is engaging in their online lessons at some level”. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as smoothly for the Clark County School District. Of their 326,000 students, roughly a third of them have not signed in to online learning since it started over a month ago.

One of the main obstacles to CCSD’s students has been disparities in computer access and fluency. Unlike Faith Lutheran, where every student is fortunate to have their own device, many CCSD students do not have access to a laptop or the internet at home. Despite donations, including $20,000 from Raiders tackle Trent Brown, through his TB77 Cares Foundation, the district is still seeking 120,000 Chromebooks to provide local students in need of laptops to continue their remote schooling.

Clark County is not the only school district to struggle with keeping their students and their families involved in online learning. The New York Times reported last week that “ some students and their parents have dropped out of touch with schools completely — unavailable by phone, email or any other form of communication — as families struggle with the broader economic and health effects of the coronavirus outbreak,” According to the district’s communications department, CCSD teachers have made 650,000 contacts with students since distance learning began on March 23, but 100,000 of them have not reached back. Because the Department of Education requires schools to make at least one contact per week with students, CCSD is going the extra mile.

Last Thursday, attendance officers were provided with limited PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) to start home visits to those 100,000 students still unaccounted for. But with the district only having two dozen attendance officers on staff, some of whom are nervous about their exposure to COVID-19, it remains to be seen how long the process will take. As for Faith Lutheran, we will continue with distance learning until the end of the school year in May and take our final exams online.

As of yet, the fall semester is set to begin August 11 as scheduled.