The Gainesville school board approved the 2021-22 school calendar on Tuesday. The calendar is similar to the 2020-21 school year's and retains a phased-in approach to the start of the school year.
The 2021-22 school year will begin with a teacher work week Monday, Aug. 2, through Thursday, Aug. 5. That will be followed by three days of open houses on Friday, Aug. 6, Monday, Aug. 9, and Tuesday, Aug. 10, according to the calendar.
Then, pre-K, second grade, sixth grade, ninth grade and 10th grade will begin school on Wednesday, Aug. 11, and the rest of the student body will begin on Friday, Aug. 13.
The reason for the phased-in approach is two-fold, said Superintendent Jeremy Williams: First, students in new school buildings will be able to acclimate, and second, the phasing in will reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread.
“We were able to take some COVID lessons (in 2020) and apply it to where we kind of phase it in,” Williams said. “We don’t anticipate COVID being gone (next school year), so we’d rather go ahead and have a calendar that allows us a little bit of room than be tied to something that is possibly unrealistic.”
Williams said he hopes that by the start of next school year, and with a slow start to in-person attendance, the district will be ready to return to face-to-face school sooner than it did this year.
He did tell The Times the district cannot yet know how students will start classes — online or in person — in the fall. That, he said, will depend on COVID-19 numbers in the community.
The 2021-22 school calendar includes the following notable dates:
Monday, Sept. 6: Labor Day holiday
Monday, Oct. 11: Columbus Day holiday
Tuesday, Oct. 12: staff work day
Monday, Nov. 22, to Friday, Nov. 26: Thanksgiving break
Monday, Dec. 20, to Friday, Dec. 31: Winter break
Monday, Jan. 3, and Tuesday, Jan. 4: staff work days
Monday, Jan. 17: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Monday, Feb. 21: staff work day
Monday, March 14: staff work day
Monday, April 4, to Friday, April 8: spring break
May 20: Last day of school
May 20: Gainesville High School graduation
Monday, May 23, to Wednesday, May 25: staff work days
The calendar also notes that, in case of inclement weather, students will learn remotely