Washoe school superintendent explains last-minute decision for distance learning

Published: Aug. 28, 2020 at 6:51 AM PDT|Updated: Aug. 28, 2020 at 2:35 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - 2:30 P.M. UPDATE: Washoe County School District Superintendent Kristen McNeill said Friday she realized the decision to go to distance learning on Friday due to poor air quality “could have been communicated in a more effective and timely manner” and apologized for problems the timing may have caused families and staff.

“Ideally, I would have preferred to make the decision yesterday evening, but as I have previously mentioned, smoke patterns and density are very difficult to predict with any kind of certainty,” McNeill said in a statement.

She and her staff made the decision using the Air Quality Index Scale from the National Weather Service. The air quality was in the unhealthy range Friday morning and was not expected to improve until later in the day.

“I made this decision with the data available at the time and in the best interest of our students, families and staff,” McNeill said.

She finished the statement by saying she will work to improve communication.

ORIGINAL STORY: The Washoe County School District will be on full distance learning Friday, August 28, 2020 because of dense smoke in the area.

Fires in central Plumas County are largely responsible for the heavy smoke which moved in to the Truckee Meadows Thursday evening.

The district said teachers will be contacting families in regards to distance learning plans.

In a statement, the district said:

“As previously stated, smoke patterns and density are very difficult to predict with any kind of certainty. However, all indicators are that the smoke today, Friday, August 28, is forecast not to improve.”

District officials said information regarding food services and pick up will be provided to families later Friday morning. The district also said essential staff should report to school buildings as needed. All other staff will be provided further direction.

The City of Reno also announced Sierra Kids Before and After School Program is cancelled Friday because of the poor air quality.

Copyright 2020 KOLO. All rights reserved.

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