TEA proposing intersessional calendars to help school districts cope with future outbreaks

Updated: May. 15, 2020 at 5:10 AM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The Texas Education Agency is proposing a change in the upcoming calendar school year for districts across the state, preparing to respond to any future outbreaks of COVID-19.

The plan lays out a detailed response for how school districts can use what the TEA is calling intersessional calendars. These calendars give schools the ability to start earlier, have more breaks throughout the year and end at a later date.

However, the largest school district on the South Plains says students and families should not plan on any calendar changes just yet.

“To do it the right way, you need to have stakeholder input. You need to have parent input, teacher buy-in. So, our board just feels like right now, number one, our families are ready for some normalcy and this calendar proposal is definitely not our normal school calendar,” said Lubbock ISD Superintendent, Dr. Kathy Rollo.

Rollo says there are years worth of steps that would need to be taken before the plan could be implemented.

“We would want to make sure that we have some parent groups and some teacher groups that we meet with, some advisory groups, and then we also have to look at funding because it is a more expensive calendar and it’s not aligned with UIL athletics and fine arts activities. So, that would be a definite challenge that we would have to face," Dr. Rollo said.

According to the TEA’s website, the intersessional calendar would give districts the opportunity to close without instructional interruption, should another virus outbreak occur, by giving them more flexible weeks during the year when distance learning could be utilized.

However, Dr. Rollo says even though the TEA is making the suggestion, that’s not the group that has the final say, “It is up to our local school boards to actually adopt and set a school calendar.”

So, she says for now, nothing has changed, “We’ll continue to seek advice from the CDC, from TEA, from our Governor and from our own local health experts. We have every intention to start school when we said we were going to start school. We’re excited about that. We’re ready to see our kids again.”

Both Lubbock-Cooper and Frenship ISD also say there will be no changes to their calendar years, either.

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