Linn-Mar to end school year three days earlier

Updated: May. 24, 2021 at 11:04 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - As students sprint toward the end of the school year in eastern Iowa, the finish line just moved closer for those in the Linn-Mar Community School District.

On Monday, the Linn-Mar school board unanimously voted to end the school year three days earlier, moving the last day from Wednesday, June 9, to Friday, June 4, the same day students in the Cedar Rapids Community School District and College Community School District will end their years.

Linn-Mar Superintendent Shannon Bisgard said during Monday’s meeting that the district can do this because of a waiver it was granted after the derecho.

That waiver allowed school districts that sustained damage in the August storm to excuse up to 10 student class days.

Bisgard said Linn-Mar didn’t use all of those days, and letting out earlier will help the district get a head start on numerous construction projects going on.

Board members all voted in favor of this schedule change while also acknowledging some families may have difficulty figuring out where their kids will go for those three days that they were originally supposed to be in school.

“This gives people at least two weeks to figure out some kind of plan, like [Board Member Brittania Morey] was pointing out, and I think that’s the most time we’ve ever had, from a snow day to the derecho to even with the coronavirus, so hopefully that will give the parents the time needed,” Board Member Clark Weaver said.

Finding childcare for those three days is now a concern for Molly Pollard, the mom of a kindergartener at Bowman Woods Elementary School and a fifth-grader at Hazel Point Intermediate School.

Pollard said it was more difficult to find someone to watch her kindergarten daughter this summer than it had been in earlier years.

She was unsure if she would be able to secure help in the next two weeks, which is why she wanted the school board to leave the last day of school as June 9.

“It might be having to take some days off of work, either for me or my husband, so we’re just going to have to see,” Pollard said.

Emily Messer, who has a second-grader at Bowman Woods, supported letting students out earlier, a sentiment that was a result of the law Gov. Kim Reynolds signed last week, prohibiting school districts from mandating masks.

Now, she doesn’t feel as safe having her daughter in the classroom as she did when masks were required.

Messer works full-time from home and said it will be challenging to watch her daughter while working.

“But I’d rather deal with that than have her getting COVID,” she said.

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