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In an effort to give teachers more time to prepare for the start of the school year, the Alliance Public Schools Board voted to move the start date from Aug. 13 to Aug. 17.

Superintendent Dr. Troy Unzicker cited the benefits of moving the start date in discussing the action item.

“There would be a lot of advantages to this,” said Unzicker. “With construction things, the subcontractors would have two more days in the building where they could get more of the punch list completed and focus on the work that’s going to interfere with classes. It’s not a necessity, it would be a nicety.

“With the formatting and things, a teacher made a comment today about the logistics,” Unzicker said. “It would just give all teachers time to logistically prepare for this as we’re planning for who’s choosing the online option and figuring out whose class they’re in. It will give us some more time to do some meetings.”

Unzicker said he wants to do Zoom training with all of the teachers to help them prepare for teaching students who choose the online option.

“Like I told teachers today, in my opening remarks, ‘ You’re probably all going to teach Zoom at some time or another this year, because, as kids get quarantined and have to go home. It’s just going to be how the year looks, I’m afraid.’”

At the meeting, the principals of each of the schools reported on the number of students taking the online option. There were 11 students who chose the online option at Alliance High School, 11 students at Grandview and eight at Emerson. No official number was given for Alliance Middle School.

Unzicker told the board members teachers are preparing for a situation if the school would have to close again due to the spread of coronavirus. He said many schools throughout the United States are taking the same precautions.

Board Member Shana Brown said that since the board waited to make the decision on reopening, it would be fair to give teachers and staff extra time to prepare for the school year. Board Member Karen Trussell, citing her experience as a teacher, noted the heavy workload for staff that would need to be completed by Thursday.

“We have a great staff, and we can do it on Thursday, if that’s the choice of the board,” said Unzicker. “I think that this would just take a little pressure off of them, as well.”

Board President Tim Kollars said he would be in favor of moving the start date in the interest of helping children get the best education possible.

“If this will make it better in the long run, I’m 100 percent for it, because I want what’s best for the kids and the teachers,” said Kollars.

The board voted unanimously in favor of opening school on Aug. 17 with a normal release time for students.

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