The new school year began only about a week ago, but school division officials are already asking parents, teachers and students for their input on the calendar for next year.
On Tuesday, Prince William County schools released an online poll asking parents their preferences for the 2020-21 school year. The poll can be reached HERE and will collect feedback until Wednesday, Sept. 11, according to a news release.
The poll offers three calendar options for next school year, including one that would begin school as early as Monday, Aug. 24, or as late as Tuesday, Sept. 8 – the day after Labor Day. A third option splits the difference by starting school a week before Labor Day, as the school division did this year.
The earliest start date – Monday, Aug. 24 – would have the school year end on Friday, June 11, 2021. The latest start date – Monday, Sept. 8 – would result in school ending on Friday, June 25. The middle option would release students on Friday, June 18. This year, summer break begins on Friday, June 12.
All three choices include a full, two-week winter break and a weeklong spring break as well as a “student holiday” on the Monday after Easter.
The school division notes the calendar must begin with at least 180 school days and that the year is divided into four “relatively equal” marking periods. Attempts are also made to minimize weeks with only a few days of school, the news release said.
The school division notes that a new law passed earlier this year allows school divisions to start up to two weeks before Labor Day without a special waiver, which had been issued only if school divisions missed too many days to inclement weather in previous years. The law also mandates that schools take the Friday before Labor Day off to boost tourism around the state.
The online poll won’t replace the calendar committee, which is made up of parents, teachers, school administrators and other staff, according to Diana Gulotta, spokeswoman for Prince William County schools.
The calendar committee will still meet to provide their input to the board but will also likely do so electronically, to respect people’s time, Gulotta said.
Input from both the poll and the committee will be presented in October to the school board, which will have the final say on the school calendar for 2020-21 school year.