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Online School and Custody during Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Online School and Custody during Coronavirus (COVID-19)

In July 2020, Nevada parents found out in that the Clark County School District planned to delay the start of the 2020-2021 school year. In addition, Clark County School District announced that school would begin virtually through full distance learning.  Prior to August 3, 2020, many Nevada charter schools were planning to open partially with hybrid distance learning options.  Unfortunately, due to liability issues related to Covid-19, all public Nevada schools will now start the school year virtually.

Clark County School District (CCSD) and many charters will begin the fall school year on August 24, 2020.  Charter schools do not have to follow the CCSD school calendar, but many schools choose to follow the same calendar.

A year which may not have any in-person school for Nevada students poses many challenges for divorced or separated parents.  Communication with the other parent regarding the start of virtual school is essential.  Distance learning has been difficult for all ages, but most elementary children will need to be assisted by a parent, tutor, or sitter to stay on task for virtual school.  In addition, children ages 5 to 12 should have supervision during the hours they would normally attend school.

Clark County will have thirteen (13) locations open for children ages 5 to 12 in a new program called School Daze. School Daze will likely fill up very quickly so you should look into this program now if it fits the needs of your family.  School Daze will be open Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  This program will provide children access to distance learning, along with other fun and educational activities.

Parenting children over age 12 during distance learning poses a different set of challenges.  While your teens may be mature enough to be left at home during the school day, parents need to communicate and try to set the same expectations for distance learning at both homes.    Teenagers will need parents to provide some of the structure for school that was previously provided by our in-person schools.  This is the time to show your teenager how to manage deadlines and use a planner.  Keep in mind that during school, teenagers have frequent reminders of projects and assignments.  Learning from home will require a dedicated school space, with minimal distractions. Just as many adults have had to learn how to focus in their home, teenagers will need time to adapt.  Don’t expect that teachers will be as forgiving with late/missing assignments as in Spring semester.  Many schools were caught off guard with the sudden distance learning and did not want to punish children or families who were not prepared for distance learning.   Expect better programs this fall and that your teenager will need to devote more time to online school than they did last year.  In addition, parents who choose not to facilitate online learning or leave young children unsupervised during school hours, may risk changes to custody.


Make a Plan through December 2020

Now is the time to speak or email your child’s other parent and make an education plan to extend through December 2020.  Every family’s situation is unique, and some may have one parent who can work from home and handle overseeing their children’s distance education.   This is not the time to argue over giving up custodial time, both parents should focus on the plan that will maximize supervision and education for their children.  For parents where both work outside the home without a remote work from home option, consider splitting a babysitter or tutor to help with supervision and distance learning.  We have no way of knowing how long the children in Nevada public schools will attend online only school, but all parents should be prepared with a plan to get through the end of the year.  In addition, the plan may need to be adjusted prior to the end of the year and you may want a new plan for January 2021.


Planning without Communication and When to Contact an Attorney

We understand that some parents have little to no communication even in less difficult times.  Sometimes even parents with good communication do not know how to reach an agreement due to the unforeseen daily challenges of coronavirus.  For those parents going through custody issues due to Covid-19, distance learning, or any other family law issues you should seek the advice of an attorney.   Marathon Law Group is experienced in navigating difficult custody situations and we can advise you on how Judges are handling Covid-19 Custody issues.    Please call our office at 702-522-1808 to schedule a consultation.


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