Amid uncertainty over how COVID-19 could impact the next school year, the Burnet Consolidated Independent School District Board of Trustees voted to revise the district’s 2020-21 academic year calendar in case the state requires public schools to close again.
“It’s really about building up a bank of instructional minutes,” said Dr. Rachel Jones, BCISD assistant superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction.
Under Texas law, required attendance is based on minutes rather than days. Public school students must be in class for approximately 75,600 minutes a school year.
Jones said the extra minutes from the three additional days give BCISD flexibility if the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 resurges and requires the state or district to close campuses for a period of time.
The trustees voted to add two days onto the beginning of the school year and one day at the end as well as gave the administration the green light to extend each school day by 15 minutes. Under the revised calendar, BCISD students will start classes August 17 and finish May 28. Under the previous calendar adopted in February, the first day was August 19 and the last was May 27.
“By adding those three days and lengthening the day slightly, that will allow us to build up the minutes we have available,” Jones said.
She added that if medical experts’ predictions of a resurgence of the virus in the fall and winter come true and schools have to close, the district should have enough classroom minutes accrued and scheduled so classes won’t need to be extended into June.
Additionally, BCISD has designated several staff development days during the upcoming school year as student makeup days if needed.
The district will announce the start and end times for school days in July.
As for how school will look when classes resume in August, BCISD and other districts are waiting on the Texas Education Agency for guidance. Officials will let parents, students, and staff know information on reopening as soon as it’s available.