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Rowan-Salisbury Schools will consider changing calendar, moving start date to Aug. 17

SALISBURY — Rowan-Salisbury Schools could push back the start date of the upcoming year more than two weeks in response to guidance from the state released Monday.

The district’s original plan was to begin classes on Aug. 1, but the agenda of a Monday called meeting of the Board of Education includes consideration of a modified calendar which would change that date to Aug. 17. The change would put the district’s calendar more in line with others in the state who are not allowed to open as early as RSS.

RSS has the freedom set its own calendar because of renewal. Most districts in the state are instead restricted under calendar legislation and can not start so early.

Charter schools, which are technically public schools, also have calendar flexibility.

The proposed calendar will be presented by Associate Superintendent of Schools Kelly Withers and is summarized as containing “many of the desirable elements found in our previous calendar while still conforming to the new state requirements. Additionally, the Aug. 17 start date gives us maximum planning time and alignment with districts across the state.”

The state has released three plans for returning to school next year: plan A would involve schools resuming normal in-person instruction while performing social distancing, plan B would require schools to operate at a 50% capacity and plan C would be a complete return to remote learning.

The alignment with other districts could be important because the state could move between the three plans depending on the state of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Rowan-Salisbury Schools.

The proposed calendar includes a holiday break beginning on Dec. 22, students returning Jan. 6, spring break March 15 through 19 and May 28 as the last day of school.

The board on Monday will also view plans for the reopening of athletics, band practice and JROTC.

The schools will follow guidelines created by the N.C. High School Athletic Association; the recommendation will be for middle and high school fall sports to begin training this week, with winter and spring sports beginning later, on July 6.

The recommendation for band and JROTC reopening will also be this week.

Athletic practices, field trips and competitions were cancelled in mid-March when schools closed, though RSS had already canceled most field trips when the state made its decision.

The district is not currently considering approving new field trips.

The last item the board will consider on Monday is a contract for services with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to expand the district’s core reading curriculum for a cost of $349,526.91.

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