New School Calendar
Petaluma City Schools recently announced changes to aspects of the yearly calendar due to the fall fires that have been a recurring event in California, especially in the past three years. During these times Petaluma students have missed up to a week of school, which is now more probable than ever due to newly-established power shutoffs. Teachers had to adjust their lesson plans due to the lost week of instruction. Not only did the missed days force teachers to plan teaching schedules around closures, but it also stopped schools from making thousands of dollars due to poor attendance.
To prepare for what seems to have become Northern California’s new normal, the State Board of Education asked districts to find a solution to this problem by fitting emergency days into the annual schedule. To fix the problem, PCS created a one week recess after spring break in order to account for the make-up days from shutoffs. However, if the week is not needed, there would be another week of school off.
“If we miss one day of school, that Friday of the week off would be used to make that up,” said Krista O’Connor, English teacher and one of the Petaluma Federation of Teachers (PFT) representatives on the District Calendar Committee. “We urge students not to plan vacations for the new week because we won't know until the beginning of March if it will be utilized or not,” she continued.
Although the week may not be used as make-up, it is better not to plan vacations ahead of time as an educational precaution that nothing is missed, especially since part of the week could be used for any reason school might be canceled (fires, flooding, power outages, etc). Based on the trends of the last three years, this week is unfortunately expected to be used. The new calendar plan will hopefully fix the school closure problems the school has run into in the past. It has been approved by the school board and will be put into effect in the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years.