Lake Forest, other school districts modify academic calendars

FELTON — Lake Forest is the latest of the school boards throughout the state to approve a new academic calendar in response coronavirus, which resulted in schools closing through May 15. 

In his letter announcing that schools would shutter through mid-May, Gov. John Carney acknowledged that the long term closure would push school calendars beyond previously scheduled last days. He added that Secretary of Education Susan Bunting plans to recommend forgiveness to the state board of education so that no district or charter would go beyond the end of June.

In a virtual meeting Thursday night, Lake Forest’s school board opted to remove its spring break slated for mid-April. Students and educators will still have off on April 10, Good Friday, and April 13, Easter Monday — a model other districts have employed when altering their calendars. 

“This calendar adjustment would trade those four days [off in April] for four days in June,” said Earle Dempsey, school board president, at the meeting.

Seniors are slated to finish school on June 1, with students in K-11 following on June 12. The year would end for teachers on June 18. 

Calendar adjustments are on the agenda for many school boards, as they move their meetings to alternate formatting. 

Each year, when designing calendars, districts must must hit 1,060 hours for students in K-11, 1,032 hours for seniors and 188 days for teachers.

Similar to how districts determine calendars each year, it is determined at the local level how they will address the days lost.

When Gov. Carney mandated that schools close, his letter noted that districts and charters would work with their staffs to create remote instruction plans. Several of those began this week, with others beginning throughout April.

In Appoquinimink, the district intends for each virtual day to equate to a full day of school to limit days lost, officials said at a virtual school board meeting last month.

At the end of March, Woodbridge amended its calendar; the last day for high school seniors comes in at June 19, and students in K-11 on June 26. 

Milford also modified its calendar, with the last day of school for seniors slated for June 5, if coursework is complete. Students in K-11 are set to complete the year on June 19. 

Caesar Rodney’s amended calendar sees a bulk of its students completing school by June 16. Seniors are slated to be out by May 29. 

The calendar is a topic of discussion for Capital and Appoquinimink over the next week. The state board of education will also discuss calendar changes in its board meeting Monday, April 6. 

The board will discuss updates from the Delaware Department of Education regarding coronavirus. On the agenda is a discussion of extensions for school districts to adopt new calendars for the 2020-2021 school year, with a public comment session.

Staff writer Brooke Schultz can be reached at bschultz@newszap.com or 741-8272.


Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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