The Christina School Board voted unanimously to delay the start of school, but is still determining how students will be going to school on September 8.
After a lengthy period of public comment, the board accepted the recommendation of Superintendent Dan Shelton to move the opening day for students until the Tuesday after Labor Day, but it still remains undecided if they will follow one of the hybrid models, or open remotely.
Shelton explained what the delay would represent.
"The time that we need to make sure that we will be fully prepared for our students to return whether that is in a full remote model, and/or we are beginning to prepare for a hybrid, rolling in of grade levels, whatever that might look like."
The district has working groups sorting out the best way to start the year, but Shelton, who was still working in the Capital School District at the end of 2019-20, said the answer isn't how things were in April and May.
"We have to start the school year differently than we ended last year. We ended last year where there wasn't a lot of accountability for the students, people were saying 'this doesn't count', this counts, this year. There wasn't a lot of accountability around our staff, if we're going to have accountability for our students, we have to have accountability for our staff."
By moving the start date of school from August 24 (Grades 1, 6, Brennan School, and REACH Program), August 31, and September 1 to September 8, there was a concern that the district might need to extend the calendar later into June, but Shelton said the pandemic might lead to one option that saves make-up days down the line.
"We don't necessarily have to have another snow day. If we are doing remote learning and remote learning because the norm, even if snow is coming, even if we happen to be back in by then, we can send home devices and say 'Hey, tomorrow might be remote, so be ready."
Staff members would begin their year on August 17 or 24, with the hope some of the preparation days could be counted as professional development.
Christina's decision now means all five of New Castle County's public school districts will begin after Labor Day.
A reopening committee update is scheduled for the next planned board meeting on August 11, with a possibility of a further calendar modification vote coming that night.