Local school districts push back initial start of school year to allow for more prep time


CAPITAL REGION (NEWS10) — Several local school districts are delaying the start of their 2020-2021 school year in order to allow more time for training and preparation. East Greenbush Central School District (EGCSD) held a public meeting Wednesday evening to push back their initial start date from September 8 to September 14.

EGCSD said the calendar change will not affect the staff work schedule, and they will report on August 31 for the first Superintendent’s Conference Days. The change in start date was approved by the Board of Education at the meeting on Wednesday.

“The complexities of reopening under the current circumstances will require sufficient time for preparation,” said Superintendent Jeff Simons. “This time will allow for staff to be trained for the new procedures and become familiar with a new instructional model and the corresponding curriculum and technology.”

EGCSD said delaying the start of school will also allow for additional professional development.

“It’s important that we start off putting our best foot forward,” said James McHugh, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, “and making sure that folks are prepared to change that instructional design.”

The State has reportedly provided flexibility allowing districts to adjust the school calendar to ensure a well planned reopening.

Additionally, Saugerties Central School District (SCSD) reportedly decided to start the 2020-2021 academic year with a fully Remote Instruction Plan. The District said starting September 8, students will be learning remotely and instruction will remain 100% remote until October 5.

SCSD said they will reevaluate the situation at the end of September with the goal of transitioning to a Hybrid model. They said they believe it is best for students to have in-person learning, but feel that by going remote it will allow for better continued learning as the entire region deals with reopening.

SCSD also said they will make sure they have enough Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and that all staff are trained in their protocols and educational platforms. For additional information, check the District’s website here.

In addition to EGSD and SCSD announcements, the Niskayuna Central School District (NCSD) announced they have decided to move the first day for students to Monday, September 14.

NCSD said the decision will allow four dedicated staff development days before the start of the school year. The District said in light of the August 24 deadline for families to choose all-remote learning and the scheduling complexities involved, information about class assignments, course schedules, and bus schedules will be sent out later than usual, possibly not until the week of August 31.

The Troy City School District will also start on September 14 for both in-person and remote learning.

North Country districts

In the North Country, Hadley-Luzerne Central School District is hanging back to September 14 as well.

“The goal in doing this is to set aside time for our faculty and staff to appropriately train and prepare for the many safety protocols that will be required for this upcoming year,” school administration wrote on the district’s website.

The extra week will be used by staff for conferencing and training.

Hudson Falls Central School District announced Monday that they would also be pushing back to September 14, pending approval from their Board of Education. The extra days will be used for professional development days for faculty and staff.

In Washington County, rural Salem Central School District is currently set to open its doors to teachers on September 8, followed by students on September 9. However, Superintendent David Glover said in an email Thursday that he anticipated that start date to move back to September 14th as well.

That decision will come with the district’s next board meeting, set for August 19.

For Lake George Central School District, the school year starts on September 8 and 9 as planned, but a gradual phase-in process will span nearly the entire month.

On those first two days, dubbed by the school as the “connections” phase, students will be in-person at the school for only half a day, with timing depending on their grade and grouping.

After that is phase II, “prepare & practice,” which will run from September 10 to 25. During this period, students will gradually spend more time by the day in-person at the school.

Phase III, “return,” is dependant on coronavirus safety in the community by September 28, which will determine whether students can complete the transition back, to an entirely in-person teaching model.

Some school districts had already planned to start a couple days later than most, enough that the jump to the 14th wouldn’t be worth the reorganization.

Argyle Central School District is set to start the school year on September 11. Superintendent Michael Healey said that day will be used to bring students back in small groups, like K-2 and grades 7-8, to familiarize them with new procedures.

Argyle joins Lake George with eyes on the goal of a fully in-person student body, but will also be offering remote learning options. Bolton School District, set to start the school year on September 10, is planned to be all in-person from the get-go.

Here is a list of additional school districts who have pushed back their start date:

  • Cohoes City School District: New start date September 9
  • Granville Central School District: New start date September 9
  • Hudson Falls Central School District: new start date September 10
  • South Colonie Central School District: New start date September 14

Fort Ann, Fort Edward and Putnam school districts did not respond to contact Thursday afternoon. This story will be updated if any of those districts report changes at a later time.


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