The Amarillo ISD Board of Trustees voted to move the start of the school year from August 20 to September 1, giving teachers and campus staff more time to meet new challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2020-2021 school year will begin on Tuesday, September 1 for virtual and in-person students. During a special school board meeting, Superintendent Doug Looms said delaying the start of the school year is not because of local concerns regarding COVID-19 right now, but rather about giving schools adequate time to create a stronger, safer start for students and staff.
Based on the most recent guidelines from the Texas Education Agency, AISD is committed to offering families the choice of In-Person EdYOUcation or Virtual EdYOUcation. Delaying the student start date gives staff an opportunity to develop and execute individual campus health and safety protocols, learn and implement a new Learning Management System required for Virtual EdYOUcation and ensure the virtual learning is on the same rigorous level as in-person instruction.
Loomis noted without a delay, AISD teachers would have just eight days to incorporate the new changes and objectives.
“Based on what we know from broad conversations with staff, we believe the additional time will get us to the point where teachers are prepared enough, and as a District, we’re better positioned to give students and everyone working in our schools the strongest possible start to the new school year,” he said.
With the exception of unforeseen circumstances, the delayed start will not result in the District having to extend the school year into June.
Registration for the 2020-2021 school year is online only for all students. Parents can continue to register students through August 7. The District wants to encourage families who have the ability to go with the Virtual EdYOUcation option to do so, which helps to alleviate the number of students inside the school buildings each day. More information about registration, back-to-school and reopening guidelines is available on AISD’s new “Return to School” hub on the District website.