AMORY – Amory School District Superintendent Ken Byars explained the district’s revised calendar and soft start plan during a special-called school board meeting July 20.
“There have been so many changes happening so quickly, all the while with lack of information. I’ve never had a class on pandemics. This was never on my radar,” he said after expressing thanks to board members and staff for flexibility and extra time spent on plans.
Latest changes from the original approved school calendar include canceling the Back to School Celebration, which was planned for Aug. 4, and moving the students’ first day from Aug. 7 to Aug. 10. In lieu of the traditional celebration, teachers will post a welcome letter and video and will make appointments by phone, email and the Remind app.
The soft start plan divides the student population for the first week to best help staff with the steep learning curve required for conducting school during the pandemic.
The first week of school will consist of in-person classes for only students with last names beginning with A–L Aug. 10. Only students with last names beginning with M–Z will report to class Aug. 11.
Aug. 12 will be the first of six virtual Wednesdays continuing through Sept. 16 when all students will participate in virtual learning.
The final two school days of the first week will be a repeat of the first two days, with students whose last names begin with A–L reporting on Aug. 13 and students with last names beginning with M–Z coming to school Aug. 14.
Beginning the second week, all traditional students will report to school on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
The school board will reevaluate the need to continue virtual Wednesdays by Sept. 16 to determine the path forward from then.
Another adjustment to the school calendar was Feb. 15 being a regular school day instead of being a professional development day.
In other business, the school board voted to add another year to Byars’ contract to extend the current term to four years, the maximum allowable by law.
Byars expressed his appreciation for the confidence of the board.
“Thank you for the opportunity to work for this district. I have always been doing something to address our three district goals, not necessarily what is popular,” he said.