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Sunday, March 7, 2021

Appo, Red Clay consider delaying school start

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Schools talk about delaying start of class
At least two school systems are talking about delaying the start of classes.

 
As positive case numbers of Covid-19 continue to climb in Delaware, school districts are grappling with school reopening plans, with some taking a less than optimistic view that it will be safe to welcome students into the classroom in September.
 
Students in the Appoquinimink School District might get more summer vacation, to allow the district to plan for how they can safely be taught in the fall.
 
The Red Clay School District is surveying stakeholders on how well online education went this spring and asking them to weigh in on alternatives for the upcoming school year.
 
Schools have been closed since March, when Gov. John Carney shut the state down to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The economy has been slowly reopening, but the reopening was paused last month as the number of positive COVID-19 tests began to rise amid more people being out and about and much heavier testing.
 
As schools wrestle with how to safely start classes, the state has allowed sports teams to begin conditioning workouts again this week but hasn’t yet said if or when teams will be able to practice — originally set for Aug. 17 — or whether and how teams will play.
 
 
 
 
The Appoquinimink district board, which educates students in Middletown, Odessa and Townsend, plans to vote on Tuesday, July 7 on a plan to delay the opening date for schools to Tuesday, Sept. 8. The current calendar starts most grades on Monday, Aug. 31, with the rest by Sept. 2.
 
“Administrators are developing plans for multiple scenarios (remote learning, building-based, hybrid) when classes resume in the fall,” district superintendent Matt Burrows wrote to parents, guardians and staff members. “To prepare for the challenge this represents, we need dedicated professional development time with teachers.”
 
The district has also developed four proposals to alter the school year, with Burrows emphasizing that none of the proposals would extend the school year. Instead, they adjust professional development, parent conferences, weather contingency days and spring break.
 
 
 
The favored plan “removes an equivalent of four days’ worth of banked weather contingency time at all grades, leaving students with only two days of extra instructional time beyond the state minimum.”
 
The district invites comments at Calendar-Feedback@appo.k12.de.us.
 
The Red Clay School District is surveying stakeholders on how well online education went this spring and asking them to weigh in on alternatives for the upcoming school year.
 
 
 
“If schools have the option to delay start dates due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to what extent do you support or oppose a later start date?” a survey prominently posted on the district home page asks. Another question proposes dividing students into groups and rotating them in and out school buildings “on half-day, daily or weekly cycles.”
 
Colonial School District is still planning to open Aug. 24, but communications officer Lauren Wilson said the system is considering alternatives that may or may not hinge on outcomes from Gov. John Carney or the state Department of Education.
 
“Nothing is etched in stone, but we will make the best-informed decisions for Colonial, the students, and staff,” she said. “We are communicating regularly with our families and will continue to do so regarding the return to school.”
 
 
 
 
Red Clay currently plans to start most grades on Monday, Aug. 31, with the rest on Sept. 1.
 
The Christina School District starts some grades on Monday, Aug. 24, with the rest by Sept. 1.
 
The Brandywine School District starts most grades on Monday, Aug. 31, with the rest by Sept. 8.
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