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Chesterfield Schools proposing pre-Labor Day start for 2021-2022

Posted at 10:02 AM, May 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-08 18:02:48-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. – Chesterfield County Schools is proposing a pre-Labor Day start to the school year, beginning with the 2021-22 school year.

The new start would be two weeks before Labor Day, according to a draft calendar scheduled to be presented to the School Board during its May 12 work session.

Under the proposal, the school year would start on Aug. 23, 2021 and would end two weeks earlier than normal on June 3, 2022.

Bellwood and Falling Creek elementary schools would remain on a year-round schedule, if approved by the School Board.

“During the approval cycle for the 2020-21 school calendar, families and staff members expressed the desire to delay moving to a pre-Labor Day-start calendar until the 2021-22 school year based on plans they had already made for this coming summer,” Superintendent Dr. Merv Daugherty said. “We are bringing this proposal forward now, nearly 16 months in advance, because we want to provide families and staff members with enough time to prepare for this change.”

Chesterfield County released a list of benefits of a pre-Labor Day start:

• Fewer instructional weeks remain after end-of-year, state-mandated tests
• Added instructional weeks prior to winter exams/MAP testing
• Dual-enrollment college schedules align better with school division start
• Added instructional weeks prior to AP/International Baccalaureate exams
• August athletics startup and school start dates align

“This proposed change will help maximize instruction time available prior to end-of-year testing,” Dr. Daugherty said. “Our teachers will have more time to deliver the required curriculum before assessing students’ proficiency and growth. This change benefits everyone from an instructional standpoint.”

The Chesterfield School Board is seeking the public’s input on the proposed 2021-22 school calendar. Comments can be sent to calendar@ccpsnet.net.

Officials say there are no changes to the already-approved 2020-21 school year at this time and school leaders are awaiting guidance and guidelines for reopening schools for the upcoming academic year.