The Bulloch County Board of Education has adopted a calendar for the 2021-2022 school year that is simply an updated reflection of the original – but not the delayed actual – school calendar for 2020-2021.
In the term before the current one, the COVID-19 pandemic brought classes to a halt March 13, instead of the originally planned May 22, 2020.
Then for the current school year, a calendar adopted months earlier after much careful consideration showed classes starting for students Aug. 3, 2020. But the actual start was delayed until Aug. 17 while teachers and administrators made emergency preparations to provide a virtual at-home learning option for families who chose it, as well as the in-school, face-to-face option.
For next school year, classes are scheduled to begin Aug. 2, 2021, under the calendar board members approved on a quick 8-0 vote with no discussion Thursday evening. The last day of school for students will be May 25, 2022.
“There’s just so much uncertainly around everybody that we’re trying to give everybody some stability and certainty, and right now we know this works for us, so this is what we’re going to stick with,” Superintendent of Schools Charles Wilson said after the meeting.
No new surveys of parents or school employees preceded the calendar’s adoption. For the current year’s calendar, whose development was already underway in the summer of 2019, a calendar committee drafted two options, surveyed teachers and administrators for their preferences and then sought parents’ input at the insistence of board members.
The new calendar closely resembles the one chosen after that process.
Next year’s breaks
Next school year, Fall Break will be Oct. 18-22, 2021, overlaying the weekdays of the anticipated 59th Annual Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair, slated to conclude Saturday, Oct. 23. The school system’s Thanksgiving holidays will be Nov. 22-26. Christmas Break for students will extend from Dec. 20, 2021, through Jan. 4, 2022, but teachers will return for in-service days Jan. 3 and 4.
National holidays such as Labor Day and Martin Luther King Jr. Day will, of course, be observed. Winter Break will be Feb. 14-18, 2022, and Spring Break will be April 4-8, 2022. Again, these are next school year’s holidays. In the current year, the upcoming Winter Break remains Feb. 15-19, 2021, and Spring Break is April 5-9, 2021, which illustrates how closely the two years’ calendars align.
Next term’s weather make-up days, if needed, would be Oct. 18 and 19, 2021, and April 4 and 5, 2022.
The pandemic shutdown and emergency planning in 2020 also displaced the Board of Education’s intended update of the Bulloch County Schools strategic plan. The plan was originally adopted in February 2015 to last through December 2020.
Previously, the introductory vision statement began, “By 2021, we will become a school system that prepares its students to be contributing members of society….”
Wilson had the first few words struck through and replaced so that the existing strategic plan still applies through 2021, or at least until he and the board complete an update.
This is the vision statement now: “Bulloch County Schools will continue to prepare its students to be contributing members of society, based upon their interests and abilities, and provide opportunities to pursue the colleges and careers of their choice.”
As in some other communications from the district, the statement uses a singular verb after “Bulloch County Schools,” treating it like the name of a company.
The vision statement is followed by a “Belief and Core Values” section and a mission statement. Wilson asked the board members to think about these “strategic statements” and their priorities for the school system. After those are set, the board can move on to revise the more detailed portions of the plan, he said.
Wilson told board members he would send them a link to a survey about the strategic statements and priorities Friday. His informing them of this, which took about a minute, comprised the entire “work session” at the core of Thursday evening’s meeting.
Then the board adopted the school-year calendar and a routine list of personnel actions on his recommendations. The entire, main open session was completed in less than 10 minutes.
The board then voted to go into an “executive,” or closed-door, session to consider information about acquiring or disposing of real estate. Wilson and the members didn’t indicate whether this was to buy, sell or lease. After meeting in closed session for the remainder of an hour, the board returned to open session and voted only to adjourn.