Although Delaware schools were closed several weeks before remote learning launched, the school year for most Cape students will end only two days later than originally planned.
About 80 people tuned in to the school board’s first Zoom virtual meeting April 7, when the board voted unanimously to adapt the calendar for the remainder of the year.
By using built-in senior contingency days and eliminating final exam half-days, the last senior day is now set for Monday, June 8, with graduation tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, June 9, one week later than planned, Superintendent Bob Fulton said.
“We don’t have all the answers at this point regarding graduation, the prom and academic awards that always happen between now and the end of the year. That will depend on if we come back May 18,” Fulton said. “If we do, we will do our best to have every event, and if we don't, we will do our best to have something, even if it’s different, to make it as special for students as it possibly can be.”
Students in kindergarten through 11th grade are required to attend 1,060 hours of school each year, Fulton said. Student hours began accumulating again April 6 when remote learning began, and district officials shortened spring break by four days, earning more hours.
Fulton said the last day for underclassmen was extended only two days because the district had also built in days for weather-related contingencies, which were not needed this year.
“We could have students go well above 1,060 hours, but in my mind, I don’t think it’s a good idea based on what would be accomplished,” Fulton said, adding that students would receive little benefit from the extra days, and bus transportation would become an issue once summer begins, and state emergency restrictions are lifted.
Per Delaware Code, Fulton said, staff must work 188 days a year. They began working again March 30, by planning remote-learning education and training in virtual platforms.
The last day for teachers moved from June 16 to June 24; however, Fulton said, they can shorten that time period by applying days accumulated attending professional development, training and conferences, known as Cape Henlopen Inservice Program, or CHIP, to end their year on June 19 instead of June 24.