The disruption COVID-19 has caused to schools is likely to continue into the new school year, and the state Education Department is asking school leaders to begin planning for it.
Schools should adopt multiple calendars, one primary and others as contingencies, to adapt to the unfolding public health situation, according to recently updated guidance from the department.
Here are five calendar options schools are asked to consider:
- An early start to the school year, to reduce the summer learning loss and to maximize time in school before a possible virus resurgence in the fall.
- An “intercessional calendar” with longer breaks throughout the year, adding flexibility.
- Extended times for instruction, such as earlier starts, night classes, extended school days in the afternoon or Saturday classes.
- Built-in “virtual days” and staggered or rotating in-person attendance, to reduce the number of students in the building at a time. Districts must ensure their virtual instruction is “equivalent in rigor to typical classroom work” and that all students can participate.
- Incremental start dates, by school or by grade level, to maximize social distancing.