Board Adopts New 2020-2021 Calendar

HOPE – The academic calendar for a school year that may or may not get off to a planned start on Aug. 24 was adopted Monday night by the Hope Public Schools Board.

HPS Superintendent Dr. Bobby Hart said the revised academic calendar represented the preference of a majority of faculty and staff between two alternatives put to a vote after Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson moved the start of school to Aug. 24.

Dr. Hart said a change in the calendar for 2020-2021 is the use of “virtual instruction days” where no students are on campus, but teachers provide instruction through online resources.

Hart said the change complies with Gov. Hutchinson’s mandate that Arkansas schools follow a 178-day student instructional period regardless of the mechanism for doing so as the state continues to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

Five “virtual instruction days” have been built into the calendar as a result, including the change from no class days to “virtual instruction” on the days immediately following Parent/Teacher Conferences on Oct. 29 and March 18.

Other “virtual instruction” days include Nov. 23-24, and Feb. 15.

Open House dates will differ this year for each campus, and will be announced by principals from each of the six HPS campuses, Hart said. He said some form of virtual open house is likely to be employed by all campuses.

Closure of a campus to students due to COVID-19 will still require faculty and staff to report to their building, pending circumstances that allow it, according to the calendar.

Teachers and other instructional personnel will undertake professional development to start the year on Aug. 5-6, 10-13, and 17-20 prior to the officially designated start of classes on Aug. 24.

Holidays for the year will include Labor Day on Sept. 7; Thanksgiving, Nov. 25-27; Christmas-New Year, Dec. 21-Jan.3; and Spring Break, March 22-26.

Early student dismissal dates will include Oct. 7, Nov. 4, Dec. 2, 16-18, Feb. 3, March 3, April 7, May 5 and 25-26. Teachers will also observe early dismissal on Dec. 18 and May 27.

Progress reports will be issued Sept. 30, Dec. 3, Feb. 4, and April 21. The final day of classes is May 27

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