Schools permanently change to a four-day week

Mask mandate also lifted
By 
Jamie Ausk Crisafulli
Thursday, May 13, 2021
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The Glendive Unified School Board officially adopted a fourday school week for students at its meeting Monday night. While the actual dates of the school year look very similar to previous fiveday week calendars, the number of hours students are in school per day has increased.

Although most students will only be in the classroom Monday through Thursday, the district’s schools will not be empty on Fridays. The fifth day of the school week will be reserved to offer additional help for students deemed to be non-proficient. All students who are deemed non-proficient will be required to show up on Fridays for three hours. Per the calendar agreement with the Glendive Education Association, teachers will be at school from 7:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Fridays. The GEA membership had reviewed and expressed support for the calendar presented to the board Monday.

The new four-day week calendar meets all state requirements for accreditation. In order to get the required number of students hours in and not lengthen the school year, more instructional hours were added to the school day.

Jefferson School hours for students will be from 8:15 a.m. to 3:10 p.m. and Lincoln will be 8:05 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Both Washington and Dawson County High School students will be in school from 8 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.

Non-proficient students will be in school from 8 to 11 a.m. on Fridays.

Non-proficient students are those who have a 59% or below in any of their classes (Grades 3-12) or a 0 and/or 1 (Grades K-2) on any of their standards. A more defined schedule will be sent out to parents before the school year begins.

Students who are determined to be non-proficient and who do not attend on Friday will be counted as absent.

School breakfast and lunch will be available on Fridays. Bussing for Friday students is still being worked out, according to Glendive Schools Superintendent Stephen Schreibeis.

“There are certain pieces of this that we are still working on but for the most part, these are the main pieces that the board and union need to agree upon,” Schreibeis said.

Trustee Lara Crighton noted that she has heard very little from the the public concerning the four-day week proposal.

“I’ve watched a lot of school districts go to a four-day school week and have their auditorium full of people for and against,” she said. She questioned if staff and parents were aware of the proposal.

Schreibeis said the information has been put out by the district and noted that there hadn’t been a lot of feedback about it.

“I’m really excited for it. It seems like it’s been a positive thing in the districts where I have family ... There was a lot of concerns at the beginning that turned out to be not as big of deal as people first expected, the community just seemed to get used to it, and we already are,” Crighton said.

The board unanimously approved the proposed 2021-22 calendar.

As the result of another noteworthy move by the board Monday, students and school staff went to school Tuesday morning without a mask requirement for the first time this school year.

The GUSB voted to remove the district-wide requirement for face coverings during the regular school day. Updates to the COVID-19 Emergency Measures policy approved by the board stated that staff, students and visitors may wear a face covering, but does not make them a requirement as was the policy before. The policy states that teachers or staff may determine if face coverings are required in their individual classrooms.

The district will continue to provide masks to all employees, students and visitors who may still require a face covering due to health or personal reasons.

The policy also addresses harassment related to face covering issues, including a portion that reads “harassment towards teachers and/or staff members requiring face coverings will not be toler ated. A students, staff members or visitors who, after an investigation, is found to have engaged in behavior that violates District policy is subject to redirection or discipline.”

The school district sent out a statement Monday night informing the public about the change in policy.

The GUSB also approved a change in the policy addressing meetings and gatherings at the schools. Those requests will no longer go before the board, as was part of an emergency policy adopted in reaction to the pandemic. Instead, school use requests will go directly to administrators.

Reach Jamie Ausk Crisafulli at rreditor@rangerreview.com.

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