Students will be released early at the end of each six weeks during the 2020-2021 school year, based on the school district calendar approved by trustees Monday night.

The approval came after getting feedback from 4,308 people: 670 students, 997 district employees, 2,430 parents and 211 community members. The majority of each group voted in favor of the option the school board approved.

Students will start school on Aug. 19. The last day of the school year will be May 26, 2021, with graduation on May 29.

In addition to the early release days, the calendar includes a full week off for Thanksgiving, Nov. 23-27, a winter break from Dec. 21 through Jan. 5, 2021 and spring break from March 15-19, 2021.

The second semester will begin Jan. 6, 2021 for students. District employees will return two days earlier.

Though the school year will not begin for students until Aug. 19, district employees will have staff development days and work days beginning Aug. 6.

Acknowledging the difficulties some families may have with early release days, Justin Smith, the district’s community outreach officer, outlined child care options available to families, such as the Boys and Girls Club, Dual After School Program, Neal Recreation Center and Sylvan Learning Center. He said the district plans to offer a list of those options for families who need those services.

District administrators will be working with the elementary and intermediate schools to develop an early release schedule to ensure students get every class.

“We want to send a message to our parents that these days, while they may be abbreviated with early departure, it’s still a very important instructional day for us, so we expect our students to be in attendance and to take learning seriously,” Chief of Staff Ginger Carrabine said.

The scheduled early release dates are Sept. 25, Oct. 30, Dec. 18, Feb. 12, April 1 and May 26.
 
The early release times will be the same as this year with elementary schools letting out at 11:35 a.m., intermediate schools at 11:45 a.m., middle schools at 1 p.m. and high schools at 12:55 p.m.
 
The board also approved a memorandum of understanding with the city of Bryan that will allow the city to do construction at the intersection of South Coulter Drive and East 32nd Street/Carter Creek Parkway near SFA Middle School.

The work is expected to include sidewalk improvements, a new traffic signal and a pedestrian crossing.

“It’s going to make that crossing a lot safer for our students and for the community,” Bryan school district attorney Harry Wright told the board.

The work will be part of the broader Coulter Street construction projects the city has planned.

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