School Board Adds Asynchronous Days to Nov. Calendar Following End of Quarter

In his Superintendent’s Report, Superintendent Scott Zeigler announced the addition of two asynchronous learning days on Nov. 3 and 5 and the introduction of halal and vegetarian lunch options in cafeterias around the county. A proclamation officially declaring October as LGBTQ+ History Month was passed 5-2 by the school board.

On+Oct.+12%2C+the+LCPS+School+Board+met+to+discuss+the+school+schedule+for+the+week+following+Oct.+28%2C+the+end+of+the+first+quarter%2C+new+menu+options+in+the+cafeteria%2C+and+the+proclamation+declaring+October+LGBTQ%2B+History+Month.++

Amelia Chen

On Oct. 12, the LCPS School Board met to discuss the school schedule for the week following Oct. 28, the end of the first quarter, new menu options in the cafeteria, and the proclamation declaring October LGBTQ+ History Month.

On Oct. 12, at the LCPS School Board Meeting, Superintendent Scott Zeigler announced a change to the LCPS calendar. Nov. 3 and 5 will now be asynchronous learning days for students and planning days for teachers, a change from the previously planned regular school days. This revision means that the entire week of Nov. 1-5 will either be a holiday or an asynchronous learning day.

Before this adjustment to the schedule, students and staff would have been at school only on those two days out of the week, with staff development and planning days on Oct. 29 and Nov. 1, respectively. Students and staff are also scheduled to have Nov. 2 off for Election Day and Nov. 4 off for Diwali.

“We have endeavored throughout our return this year to prioritize in-person learning,” Zeigler said as part of the Superintendent’s Report, item 8 in the school board meeting. “We continue to make in-person learning a priority, but we do have to realize and recognize when we have hardships that will impede that effort.” 

Zeigler cites a main challenge that LCPS is currently facing is not having a sufficient number of substitute teachers accepting positions, which led to the decision to add the two asynchronous days to the calendar. Only about 500 out of the 4000 substitute teachers in LCPS accepted roles this school year according to Zeigler.  

While Zeigler says that LCPS is working on strategies to encourage substitutes to pick up jobs, he believes that “if we have a shortage [of substitutes] on these days of this week, it would mean combining classes, doubling up classes, and we don’t think with our COVID mitigation efforts that would be the safest environment for our schools.” 

In an email sent to LCPS teachers, Zeigler acknowledged the struggles that students and staff are facing this year, and “hope[s] that by making these planning days available to [staff], we can allow dedicated time for collaboration across teams and preparation for classroom instruction as we enter the new quarter.” 

Staff and students alike are grateful for these extra days of work and planning time. “I am really looking forward to the week off from school,” senior Rohan Mathur said. 

Halal and Vegetarian Options Added to Lunch, LGBTQ History Month Made Official

Along with the changes to the schedule, the school board is planning to implement a more inclusive lunch menu. Kicking off National School Lunch week, which takes place from Oct. 12-16, halal and vegetarian options will now be regularly offered in lunches in LCPS. 

The culturally-diverse food tasting for this county-wide change was conducted at Rock Ridge over the past few weeks. During the week of Sept. 14, students in A and B lunch had the opportunity to sample chana masala, a dish originating from India made with a variety of chickpea called chana, to gather student feedback on new vegetarian lunch options. 

In addition to the samplings during lunch, the cafeteria held smaller group tastings that students interested in halal and vegetarian lunches could attend. “We talked about other [vegetarian] foods that we would want to see… some people mentioned samosas,” senior Mihika Bangarbale said. 

The school board also officially passed the LGBTQ History Month proclamation 5-2, declaring October as LGBTQ+ History Month. The month of October is specific to LGBTQ+ because it recognizes “the first LGBT National March on Washington [in Oct. 1979 urging] Congress to pass protective civil rights legislation; and increasing visibility, raising awareness, and teaching LGBTQ+ history fosters a welcoming climate where LGBTQ+ students, families, and educators can live their authentic lives and be treated with dignity and respect,” the proclamation reads. 

The next school board meeting will take place on Oct. 26.