CUYAHOGA FALLS — Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, school district officials are proposing that students get five more days of summer vacation before starting the 2020-21 school year.

The Cuyahoga Falls Board of Education in 2019 approved the 2020-21 school year calendar with teachers reporting on Aug. 17 and students starting classes on Aug. 19. Now, the district is proposing changing the start date for students to Aug. 24, according to Ellen McClure, the district’s director of human resources. She added the date change was proposed due to the issues presented by COVID-19 and emphasized that it is the only change being considered for the 2020-21 calendar.

The Board of Education is scheduled to vote on the amended calendar on Aug. 4.

Under the proposed change, McClure said teachers would still report on Aug. 17, but would then have a full week to prepare for students’ return. Five professional development days that were originally scheduled to occur at various points throughout the school year would be moved to the start of the school year to give teachers additional planning time.

"What our teachers need right now is time, so that’s why we put it all [of the professional development days] at the beginning of the year and then we’ll figure it out as we go," said McClure at a public hearing the district hosted Tuesday morning at the Harold E. Wilson Administration Center.

Five people attended the hearing. One attendee asked whether the district would continue having early release days on Wednesdays. McClure said whether early release days happen depends on the plan that district officials implement for students’ return to classes. A task force is in the process of developing a return to school plan.

The public hearing only dealt with the proposed change to the calendar, not the district’s overall plan for students’ return to classes during the COVID-19 pandemic. The administration is scheduled to present that plan to the Board of Education on July 15.

McClure said a draft version of the amended calendar will be posted on the district’s website at www.cfalls.org. If anyone wishes to share feedback regarding the new calendar, they may email McClure at cf_mcclure@cfalls.org.

Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, pkeren@recordpub.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.