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What to know about the proposed 2021-22 school calendar
Midway First Day 7 080219 web
Midway Elementary School welcomed students and families for the first day of the 2019-20 school year on Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019. - photo by Brian Paglia

The Forsyth County school system wants the public’s input on the 2021-22 school calendar that is currently under consideration by system staff.

At Tuesday’s work session of the Forsyth County Board of Education, board members were presented with a draft calendar for the 2021-2022 school year, which has remained basically unchanged from the 2020-21 school calendar which was approved last year.

The calendar draft includes the following major dates:

● First day of school – Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021.

● Last day of school – Tuesday, May 24, 2022.

● Fall break 2021 – Sept. 20 to Sept. 24. 

● Thanksgiving break 2021 – Nov. 22 to Nov. 26.

● Winter break 2021 – Dec. 22 to Jan. 4.

● Spring break 2022 – April 4 to April 8.

According to Deputy Superintendent of Schools Joey Pirkle’s presentation to the board, this calendar draft was created by school staff, with input from local school councils in the community.

Pirkle said that from the local school councils they receive a majority of positive responses to the draft, but got a divided response concerning the date of fall break.

“The biggest thing from LSCs with the feedback that we got regarding this calendar was moving the fall break from where we have it, which is Sept. 20-24, to a week later," he said. "Their comments were, 'Why don't we move it to the week of Sept. 27 through Oct.1?’”

Pirkle and Forsyth County Schools Athletics Coordinator Nathan Turner explained to the board that they didn’t move fall break because they are trying to keep the calendar in line with the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) schedule for football.

Turner said that since athletic programs are on a two-year scheduling cycle, they need to have 2020 and 2021 schedules match.

“The biggest thing we ask for is please let 2020 and 2021 match,” he said. “We don't know how many teams may be moved into our region, where we may end up, but at least this gives us the opportunity and the flexibility to have it there if the opportunity exists."

Following Pirkle’s presentation to the board, Forsyth County Schools Superintendent Jeff Bearden voiced his support of keeping fall break as it is proposed in the draft due to how widespread athletic schedules impact the community.

"We're not just talking about football teams. We're talking about bands, we're talking about cheerleaders, we're talking about the siblings of those people …  talking literally thousands of people in our community, and to not be able to have a fall break for all of those families would not be conducive to what we're trying to do," he said. "That's why the calendar was built the way it was so that we could schedule accordingly."

Now that this draft calendar has been presented to the board, it has also been placed online so that members of the community can see it and voice their opinion.

Pirkle said that an online forum for public feedback can be found at www.forsyth.k12.ga.us/Page/349 and will be open until Oct. 23.

The draft calendar will be brought back before the board with any final changes at the Nov. 12 board of education work session, Pirkle said. The board will be asked to approve a final draft on Nov. 19.