QUINCY -- Quincy Public Schools classes will begin on Thursday, Aug. 20 with two teacher institute days on Aug. 18 and 19, as previously announced, but other changes now are included in the 2020-2021 calendar.
Meeting in special session Wednesday morning, the School Board adopted a revised calendar for the coming year.
Although QPS looked at moving up the start of the school year, based on a state recommendation, in order to miss some of the potential flu season, "we decided to keep the Aug. 20 date," Superintendent Roy Webb said.
"We felt that families had already prepared for that date in the last month or so," he said. "We might have had families and staff members plan trips in early August."
Other changes in the revised calendar include:
º Waiving the Columbus Day holiday, so students will be in class on Monday, Oct. 12.
º Adding Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, as a state-mandated holiday.
º Shifting parent-teacher conferences, calling for a half-day of school on Friday, Oct. 30, and no classes on Monday, Nov. 2, instead of a half-day on Thursday, Oct. 29, and a day off on Friday, Oct. 30.
º Extending the winter break to have students return to school on Wednesday, Jan. 6, instead of Monday, Jan. 4. QPS plans to use Tuesday, Jan. 5, as a remote learning planning day for staff.
º Making the last day of school, if no snow days are used, Friday, May 28, for students and Tuesday, June 1, for teachers.
Ongoing concerns about COVID-19 and the winter flu season made setting the calendar more challenging than usual for the coming school year.
With some schools, especially colleges and universities, trying to beat the flu season with an early start, "we talked that we may be coming right back into a flu season in January. It's tough to measure those things and figure out the exact right time," Webb said.
"We'll do what we can," he said. "The schools are doing a real good job of developing their plans, and it's going to be a plan that they can change. If we start to get cases, we'll start to see more remote learning or blended learning instead of in person."