DEARBORN — The Dearborn Public Schools will begin the 2020-21 school year with half days the first week, Aug. 31 to Sept. 3.
The four half days will give staff additional time to learn new online teaching tools, including the Schoology and Zoom software that all teachers and students will be using during online instruction.
To make up for some of the half days, the district eliminated the first three late starts planned for this year. Class will now resume at the regular time on Sept. 23, Oct. 14 and Dec. 9.
The district also adjusted its school hours during online learning. High schools, middle schools, kindergarten to eighth grade buildings, and both Salina schools will start class at 8:15 a.m. with the school day ending at 3:10 p.m. and half days ending at 11:10 a.m. All other elementary schools will start class at 8:55 a.m. and finish by 3:50 p.m. on a regular online day and at noon on a half day.
Middle and high school students will have their first to third hour classes on Aug. 31 and Sept. 2 and their fourth through sixth hour courses Sept. 1 and 3.
The schedule changes apply to traditional and Virtual Learning Program students. When the district returns to school in the buildings, start times for all students will revert back to the traditional hours, generally 7:20 a.m. for high school, 8 a.m. for middle school and 8:40 for elementary. VLP students also will move back to the traditional start times.
“With all students starting the year online, we do not have to worry about daily busing,” Supt. Glenn Maleyko said. “Without busing, we can adjust our class schedules to make it a little easier for students, especially the high school teens whom we know would rather not be in class at 7:20 each morning.”
Administrators worked with the Dearborn Federation of Teachers to adjust the school calendar. The changes still need official approval by the Board of Education, but that is expected to happen at its next meeting, Aug. 24. District calendars can be found at https://dearbornschools.org/services/district-calendars.
DPS is starting online for the entire district until at least Oct. 1. The board will re-evaluate conditions in September to see if students can begin to shift back to more in-building learning. VLP students signed up to take classes online for the entire school year.
During online learning, students will still be expected to participate in live class every day. How those school days will look, especially for the elementary students, is still being finalized.
“We know this school year is bringing with it a lot of changes,” Maleyko said. “We appreciate the patience from our parents, families and staff as we make adjustments to serve our students the best we can in the unprecedented environment created by COVID-19.”