Opelika School Board delays the start of school

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By Hannah Lester
Associate Editor
hlester@opelikaobserver.com

The Opelika School Board delayed the start of school by a week during its monthly meeting.

Students will now return to Opelika schools on Aug. 12, rather than the fifth as originally planned. The alternate calendar that was approved lists the first day of school as Aug. 12 and the last day as May 20. 

Students and their families can choose whether to return in-person or virtually 

“As we monitor the current COVID-19 rates in Lee County and consult with local health officials, we feel that this is the best decision for our students and staff,” said Opelika Superintendent Mark Neighbors. 

Originally, the plan was proposed as a potential calendar that could be approved for use if necessary. The board decided to go ahead and approve the calendar for official use on Tuesday. 

“Based on where the hospital is in our county, I think it’s wise of us to swap these five days with vacation to give us some time ahead of [reopening],” Neighbors said. 

The five extra days were grained by eliminating fall break on Oct. 12-13, eliminating the first day of Thanksgiving break on Nov. 25 and by eliminating the first two days of Christmas break, Dec. 21-22. 

The second semester of the school year remains unaltered. 

“We’re prepared for the fifth but we feel like with the COVID situation that it would be much wiser for us to wait until the 12,” Neighbors said. 

Charles Beam, a member of the school board, applauded the Opelika City Schools staff and team for the work they’ve done throughout the pandemic. 

“In the emails and the communications we’ve had with ya’ll, I just am so proud of the work ya’ll have done,” he said. “… I just can’t imagine a better team and I’m dang proud.”

Other Business:

  • The school board also approved a budget change, its second amendment to the Fiscal Year 2020 budget.  
  • The board approved a bread bid for the child nutrition program with Bimbo Bakeries for just over $40,000. The school system has worked with the company for the last ten years and it was the lowest of two bidders. 
  • The board voted to approve the membership renewal for the Alabama Association of School Boards.

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