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Board approves later start date for schools

Amanda Parrish * Delaware
aparrish@doverpost.com
Middletown Transcript

The Appoquinimink Board of Education approved starting school one week later than planned to allow teachers and staff time to train and prepare for what school will look like in the fall.

Students were originally scheduled to begin Aug. 31 but will now start Sept. 8. Teachers will resume work Aug. 24.

The board approved using four banked snow days to make up for the week of lost learning days, so the schools would still end the academic year on time. The district is allotted six snow days every academic year.

Ray Gravuer, special programs supervisor, said students would still meet the state-mandated hours of learning — 1,032 for seniors and 1,600 all other students.

The district sent a survey to parents at the end of June asking which of four scenarios they would prefer to make up the days: using professional development days, conference days, banked snow days or spring break. Those who took the survey heavily favored using snow days.

“We will need time to plan, no matter what the scenario is,” Superintendent Matt Burrows said during the July 7 board meeting.

Burrows said the district will have a plan by July 31 whether school will be in-person, hybrid or remote learning. He said the school districts are not in charge of making the decision of what format classes will resume. The governor will make the decision.

Board member Michelle Wall was pushing for a quicker decision so families can know as soon as possible what to plan for. President Richard Forsten said making a choice right now, could result in the wrong one.

“If you insist on a decision now, you might not be happy with that decision,” he said. “The world is going to look different in three weeks, it’s going to look different in five weeks, six weeks and it’s going to definitely look different in two months.”