HUDSON — Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, city school district leaders are looking to have students return to classes several days later than originally planned.

The Hudson City School District was initially scheduled to have students start the 2020-21 school year on Aug. 26, but officials are now looking to have a staggered start on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, according to District Superintendent Phil Herman. 

"The staggered start will be alphabetic and by family," Hudson City Schools spokesperson Sheryl Sheatzley. "…If possible, we are hoping to bring all students back on Sept. 2."

The staggered start, Herman said, will give students a better chance to meet their teachers and learn how to follow social distancing and safety protocols.

He noted that district staff would return to work on the same date that was already planned — Aug. 24 — but under the revised calendar, the employees would have additional professional development days to "plan for a variety of school models that could have to be implemented during the year."

Herman added those models could be all-remote instruction, all-in-person instruction, or a hybrid. He added district staff wants to be prepared to "move fluidly between models should the virus change or [if] guidance changes for schools." Herman said the additional preparation time will also be used by staff to practice social distancing and the safety protocols that will be established.

Herman presented the modified calendar to the Board of Education on June 29, and the Board is scheduled to vote on the new dates at its next meeting on July 13.

District families can share comments or questions about the potential changes by contacting Doreen Osmun at 330-653-1217 or osmund@hudson.edu.

The district on Tuesday emailed surveys to district parents to learn what issues families are concerned about in conjunction with returning to classes.

"The survey only takes a few minutes to complete and will help us understand your current perspectives on your children returning to school in-person or participating in remote learning, utilizing transportation, and utilizing food service, and … supports for mental wellness," said Herman in his video message to district families on Monday. 

Parents have until July 12 to respond to the survey.

Herman emphasized that there will be a remote learning option available to families "who are not comfortable in sending their children back to school [in-person]."

The district’s in-person return to school plan will be finalized in late July or early August, Herman said.

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