LEXINGTON — Students in the Lexington Local Schools district will have two more weeks of summer vacation this year.
At its June meeting, the school board voted unanimously to delay the first day of school from Aug. 25 to Sept. 8.
No other dates in the school calendar will be affected by the change and the school year will not be extended.
"We're well above the state minimum requirement for the number of hours," said Supt. Mike Ziegelhofer. "We're not interested in lessening the amount of time for instruction and learning, but given this particular unique year we felt it was important to give our teachers every opportunity to be as well-prepared as possible."
Ziegelhofer said other Richland County superintendents have discussed delaying the start of school and that those conversations will continue during a group meeting in July.
In neighboring Ashland County, the Ashland City School District also approved a modified school calendar at their June board of education meeting, with kindergarten through fifth grade students returning for daily, in-person classes Sept. 8 barring any further state restrictions.
The extra two weeks will be used for training and professional development for teachers and staff, who will be adjusting to new state mandates and online curriculum.
The district has decided that no matter what the school year looks like next year, students will use online curriculum and textbooks.
"It's aligned to the states standards, it matches the rigor of what we've always been doing in our face-to-face instruction, and it allows for consistency and continuity whether were face-to-face or we're virtual," Ziegelhofer said.
Teachers will still teach when inside the classroom, but using online curriculum will keep things consistent if students have to split time between the classroom and the living room.
It will also ensure families who don't feel comfortable sending their children back to school will learn the same information.
Schools are still waiting to hear what state guidelines they will have to comply with next school year. Gov. Mike DeWine stated in his address to the state on Monday at 2 p.m. that plans for the upcoming school year will be addressed on Thursday, July 2.
Administrators are currently considering three options: a full return to school, a continuation of online education or a "blended learning" approach, which would include time in the classroom as well as time spent learning at home.
Most school districts are waiting to choose an approach until they receive state guidelines and evaluate feedback from parents and teachers.
"I don't think any school district knows how they're going to start next school year yet," Ziegelhofer said.