SCARBOROUGH — On July 30, the Board of Education approved changes to the Scarborough Schools calendar for 2020-2021, which makes the new student start date Sept. 8.

The changes are in relation to the need for teachers to prepare as they go into a school year that has been impacted by COVID-19, Superintendent Sanford Prince said.

In the district’s drafted plan for reopening schools in the fall, there are three models: remote only, a hybrid model of online learning and in-person learning, and in-person only. Prince said administration anticipates implementing he hybrid model, but he is not sure.

State officials announced Friday that schools in every county could open for in-person learning this fall.

“Given the reinvention of our schools, we’re recommending that our staff have Sept. 1, 2 and 3 as days for planning,” he said. “What you passed last spring, those would have been student days.”

March 12, originally a professional development day, would become student day a, Prince said. Students will have 176 school days this year.

Kristen Turner, school board member, said she fully supports the changes to the calendar because the School Reopening Redesign Taskforce, which was formed to create a draft plan for returning to school this year, often ran into conflicts with the calendar when trying to find time for teacher training and work.

“I support all of these changes and I’m really glad to see the push-back of the start date on here,” she said.

The board also debated changing the Oct. 9 professional development day to a student day, but the board passed an amendment to allow that day to remain for teachers.

School Board Member Hillory Durgin said that she supported the changes but felt like the days weren’t enough for the teachers. She thought the October staff-only day would be helpful for teachers.

“You’d hate to lose student days, but I think the value for having more time for the teachers to be prepared outweighs that,” she said. “I’m concerned that it’s still not enough time. It’s only three extra days. We’re asking teachers to do a lot and make a lot of changes, just to their practice and also the way they interact with their building and schools. That all requires professional development in addition to planning with themselves and their colleagues.”

She added, “I’ll be very interested in hearing about whether the state waves student minimum requirements for student days because that also has a big effect on what we can do with the calendar.”

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