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A plan to reduce the “summer slide” is being considered for Aiken County students

Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 11:23 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Aiken County school officials are considering a modified schedule for the academic calendar.

The goal is to help with the “summer slide”, when students fall behind over the summer months.

Until there’s a vote, the next summer break schedule remains up in the air.

“The longer we wait to provide intervention, the more difficult progress becomes,” said Superintendent King Laurence, pushing for a modified schedule next school year.

The big idea is to shorten summer break but add those days to make longer breaks throughout the idea. Hopefully cutting down on summer learning loss.

Sherry East, president of the South Carolina Education Association is a teacher herself.

She says for the plan to have support, the district will need some facts to back it up.

“I think there always needs to be the “why”. ‘Why are we going to year-round school?’ ‘How will this help your child?,’” said East.

Laurence says the burnout is real, especially as November approaches in the school year. He says staff absences went up 32 percent from September to October.

Laurence plans to host some town halls to hear from more parents within the next few weeks. He says if the board does not take a vote on these plans at the next meeting, he thinks they will need to hold off on changes until after the next school year.

Additionally, the majority of parents surveyed, so far, are on board with the plan.

But others are still left with concerns.

“One thing I think needs to be considered is the impact on summer jobs for students, how is it going to impact childcare? How about sports practices and sports games?” asked John Pettigrew, Aiken County parent.

Aiken County parent Laurence says employers will likely be flexible with student schedules, game schedules will not be affected, and as for childcare-

“When the state shut down schools back in 2020 overnight, childcare providers, churches, recreation departments, they all rallied and they got things going for students. And there’s no reason to think that wouldn’t happen again,” said Laurence.

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