Parents have mixed feelings about proposed Guilford County Schools calendar

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GREENSBORO, N.C. — It’s barely the start of summer, but it’s already time to think about when kids will head back to the classroom.

Guilford County Schools officials are proposing a new calendar to be considered at the Board of Education meeting Thursday afternoon.

Parents FOX8 spoke with have some mixed feelings about the revisions, and the fact they didn’t know about some of the proposed changes until FOX8 told them.

“I have some questions looking at it because it hasn’t been up very long,” said Stephanie Mitchell, a Guilford County mom.

The proposed new calendar for the 2020-2021 school year is on the Guilford County Board of Education’s website, in the agenda for Thursday’s 3 p.m. virtual meeting.

Some parents like Mitchell have some concerns.

“Taking the first semester all the way into January? That means [teachers] will have to go back over [material] and pull these kids back in,” she said. “I don’t agree with that.”

North Carolina regulations are requiring at least 185 days or 1,025 hours of instruction for the next school year and mandating that school districts begin classes on Aug. 17 to make up for lost time due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The state is also requiring five mandatory remote learning days.

Mitchell says she wishes there was more communication with parents on the changes for the next school year.

“I really had no idea this was coming up, and I try hard to stay on top of things,” she said.

Guilford County Schools administrators are recommending the school board waive the 30-day public comment period and approve the calendar as presented.

“Guilford County seems to be so quick for everything, instead of taking the time and doing due diligence, choosing to respond, and making sure what we’re doing is in the best interest for these fragile kids,” Mitchell said.

But other GCS moms, like Melissa Hassard, understand leaders are on a tight deadline.

“Teachers, administrators, and everybody who’s part of this conversation have to move quickly in order to be ready in August,” she said. “Some really smart people are considering all of these factors.”

With two kids at different Guilford County schools, Hassard believes school officials are doing everything they can to help students succeed.

“I know everybody is trying to get their calendars and lives sorted out right now. It feels almost impossible,” she said.

Hassard thinks everyone, including administrators, have no choice but to take everything day by day.

“All of the what-ifs, they do pile up,” Hassard said. “But we have to make some sort of decision and then we can always back up and punt.”

State regulations for this coming school year require a final remote instruction plan, included in the school calendar, by July 20.

It’s not yet been decided whether or not the Board of Education will choose to waive the 30-day public comment period.

As of now, people can still send in their opinions until 2 p.m. on Thursday, by emailing boardofed@gcsnc.com, with the subject line “Public Comments.”

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