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NEVADA VIEWS: Nevada businesses must support online learning

Many months have passed since COVID-19 changed the face of public education in Southern Nevada. When the Clark County School District closed its brick-and-mortar facilities and transitioned its more than 300,000 students to online learning, it caused a ripple effect of changes that significantly impacts working parents.

As the superintendent of The Delta Academy for more than a decade, I have witnessed firsthand the benefits of distance learning and am a staunch advocate for it. However, transitioning from a traditional in-person education to online is not something that can be done easily overnight.

Now more than ever, it’s vital for the business community to support working parents in this new age of distance learning. In addition to being the right thing to do, it’s also good for the bottom line.

According to the Census Bureau, 70.3 percent of children ages 6-12 in Clark County live in a household where all parents work. This represents a large cohort of people who are now forced to balance the responsibilities of a job and online learning. Parents are not only managing work tasks and deadlines, they are now co-teachers, helping to keep their child on schedule and provide support with curriculum. In theory, this may seem easy enough, but the reality is that most parents don’t have experience with the lessons and are unable to give their kids the help they need. And, for those with younger children or multiple kids, these challenges are exacerbated.

It’s truly an impossible position for parents.

Parents need to have options to ensure that their children can safely and successfully learn while they’re at work. This is something we are offering to our own teachers and staff at The Delta Academy and that companies such as Wynn Las Vegas, MGM Resorts International and The PENTA Building Group have also implemented.

Providing this service may seem like a big expense for businesses, but I encourage companies to consider another perspective: It’s an investment that can save you time and money in the long run.

According to the Work Institutes 2020 Retention Report, employee turnover costs exceeded $630 billion in 2019. It affects productivity, increases training and employee selection time, decreases efficiency and negatively impacts existing employees due to frustrations associated with interrupted schedules, increased overtime and mistakes. In addition, 78 percent of the reasons employees quit could have been prevented by the employer — with “work-life balance” listed as one of the top three reasons.

Put simply, losing employees is expensive and taxing on those who remain. By treating staff well and offering child care and learning support options, businesses have the opportunity to minimize turnover and, in turn, save money. It’s a win-win for employers, working parents and students.

Kyle Konold is superintendent of The Delta Academy, a North Las Vegas online charter school that serves grades six through 12.

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