Lake Forest board votes for post-Labor Day start

FELTON — Lake Forest School District has joined numerous others in amending its school calendar to allow for more prep time, as school leadership across the state gear up for a year colored by coronavirus.

At a brief school board meeting Thursday, the board voted unanimously to delay the start of school for students until the day after Labor Day, Sept. 8. No staff days would be affected by the change (they will still start Aug. 24) and it will not affect the end of the school year.

“Given the unique circumstances of getting ready to open up the school year, we felt like it would be advantageous for our staff to have a few more days to get ready,” said Superintendent Steven Lucas.

The district joins a number of others that have already pushed their academic years back. Caesar Rodney, Milford and Appoquinimink voted last month that they’d delay students’ start to school until after Labor Day. Indian River pushed its first day for students until Sept. 17.

School calendars were also part of the discussion for Cape Henlopen and Capital school districts Thursday.

Meanwhile, the district plans to return to the board with plans about what the next year will look like for students and teachers.

“We are still collecting some information to be able to present a couple of scenarios,” Dr. Lucas said.

One, he explained, would be fully remote, where all students — or those who choose — would be learning at a distance.

The other would have part time in-person opportunities, with “remote learning as the primary learning model,” he said.

“Our primary concern, of course, is the safety of our students and our staff so whatever plan that we present for approval, that will be our first commitment,” he said. “Our second commitment is to get as many students in the face-to-face environment that want to be in the face-to-face environment [and] that we are capable of, given the restrictions, presented by the pandemic and logistics and, of course, health and safety of our community.”

The district released a survey to the community to gauge what the families prefer, between remote or hybrid learning.

“We just want more data so we can make an informed decision [about] what model we create,” he said.

Lake Forest school board will meet again Thursday, Aug. 13 at 7 p.m. virtually, where they will discuss the return to school.