Twinsburg district alters school start and ending times

April Helms
Akron Beacon Journal
Twinsburg Tigers

TWINSBURG -- The start and ending times for the Twinsburg City Schools will change with the new school year.

Superintendent Kathryn Powers said that the times were in response to a May 5 survey sent to parents and staff on earlier proposals for start and stop times. 

"Responses were either very favorable or very unfavorable," Powers said, adding that 1,159 parents and 234 staff members had responded. "It sent us back to the drawing board."

At the high school, school will begin at 8 a.m. and end at 2:55 p.m. Students at R.B. Chamberlin Middle School would start at 7:25 a.m. and end the day at 2:20 p.m. School would start at Dodge Intermediate School at 7:15 a.m. and end at 2:10 p.m. Students at Bissell would start at 8:30 a.m. and end at 3:20 p.m. Wilcox students would start at 9 a.m. and end the day at 3:50 p.m.

The morning preschool would run from 9:05 to 11:35, and the afternoon preschool would run from 1:15 to 3:45.

"We were able to make additional adjustments to our transportation routes which ultimately impact the start and end of our school days," Powers said. 

In this school year, the school day for high school students ran from 8:15 a.m. to 3:05 p.m.; fourth through eighth graders were in school from 7 a.m. to 1:55 p.m.; second and third graders went from 8 a.m. to 2:50 p.m.; and kindergarten and first grade students were in school from 9 a.m. to 3:50 p.m.

Times for the morning and afternoon preschool remain the same.

In a Wednesday notice to parents, Powers said that she had "hoped to send a parent declaration survey to our families prior to the end of this school year." The last day of school was Thursday. However, the administration decided to wait "until we receive clearer guidance from Columbus."

In June, Powers said, the school board is expected to discuss the school district's reopening plan in June. The June board of education meetings are June 2 at the city government center, and June 23 in the high school auditorium. Both meetings start at 7 p.m.

"Many topics will be discussed including social distancing and masking requirements," Powers said.

In a tentative plan shared in late April, most students would return to their traditional school buildings. However, half of the sixth-grade class would go to R.B. Chamberlin Middle School, with the other half staying at Dodge Intermediate School, due to the difficulties with maintaining 4 feet of social distancing at Dodge, Powers said. 

More:What could the next school year look like?

In the 2021-22 school year, students will start the week of Aug. 23 in a "soft reopening," from Aug. 23 through 26, like this past school year. Students will not have school Aug. 27. The last day for students will be May 27, 2022.

As of now, the state has not given a final approval on if schools can continue a virtual option for all students. However, Powers said that if the state gives the green light for this, there would be restrictions and qualifications put in place for students wishing to participate, such as minimum grade and attendance requirements.

School lunch program

Powers encouraged families who qualify for free and reduced meals at the schools to send in an application, even though students will be able to eat school meals for free through June 30, 2022 with the extension of the Summer Seamless Option.

According to information posted April 20 on the USDA's website, "state agencies and school food authorities need additional support and flexibility to continue serving meals to children while maintaining appropriate safety measures and managing the impacts of COVID–19."

Even with this provision, Powers said, it is important for families to still file the federal paperwork needed if they qualify because students who meet the criteria for free or reduced lunch can also have their student fees waived or reduced.

Students qualifying for a free meal would have their academic fees waived, and their pay-to-participate fees would be reduced by half, Powers said. Those who qualify for a reduced lunch would have their academic fees reduced by half, and their pay-to-participate fees reduced by 25%.

In addition, the number of students who meet the requirements for free or reduced lunch impacts the funding the district receives, Powers said.

Forms are available through Mark Bindus, the food supervisor for the district. Visit https://www.twinsburg.k12.oh.us/foodserviceswellness.aspx for details. 

Reporter April Helms can be reached at ahelms@thebeaconjournal.com