Schools to extend 70 percent Friday schedule

What has become known at “70 percent Fridays” for DeSoto County School District (DCS) schools will continue for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year. Board members at its Thursday, Nov. 19 meeting approved Supt. Cory Uselton’s recommendation to continue the schedule.  

Seventy percent Fridays are the last day of the school week when students are in class for what amounts to 70 percent of the normal school day. DeSoto County Schools have been allowed to adjust the schedule and end classroom teaching for the day early each Friday.

By shortening the schedule on Friday, it allows teachers more time to plan for the following week of school. While youngsters go home early on Fridays, instructors and support staff remain in the building through the end of their work day.

By having students in schools as long as they do on Friday, the district can still count Friday as a completed classroom day toward the state requirement of 180 classroom days. 

Uselton explained the district was ready to evaluate the schedule when students left for their Christmas break in December. He said the response to the concept from teachers was “overwhelming.” 

“The feedback that was received from teachers was that they wanted to continue to have it,” Uselton explained. “They felt it was necessary to help them through the week and to give them more time to plan.”

Dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and with the district forced to offer virtual learning with classroom instruction has put teachers into more stressful situations. 

“Our teachers are facing more challenges than they have ever faced before,” said Uselton. The time on Fridays will enhance instruction for the virtual learners and the in-person learners. This gives more time for teachers to plan and provides more quality instruction.”

Students and teachers can expect a much cleaner classroom when they come back to class after Thanksgiving break on Monday, Nov. 30. Rooms will be given a spotless once over in the time they are away.  

“We will be making sure our campuses are clean and ready to go when students come back from Thanksgiving break,” Uselton said. “We’ll continue to monitor numbers in upcoming weeks just like we do every week, and we’ll come back and are planning to have three weeks of instruction, both in-person and virtual, for students after the Thanksgiving break,” meaning classes will remain in session until the scheduled Christmas break starts later in December.

That spotless cleaning may be coming at a good time for the state’s largest public school district. As a district, DeSoto County Schools reported Monday 81 new positive case reports for coronavirus for the week ending Nov. 13 and 743 new quarantines.    

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