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Lanett School board sets new start date

School start date has been one of the biggest questions for parents, students and teachers since school was let out due to COVID-19. On Monday, the Lanett City School System answered that question for the three schools in Lanett.

The first day of school will be Aug. 24 for the three schools, W.O. Lance Elementary, Lanett Junior High School and Lanett High School, 12 days after the original start date.

“We are looking at different options,” Lanett Superintendent Jennifer Boyd said. “Just because that is our start date, that does not necessarily mean that is the day that students will be back on campus. That is just the official day that we will start regardless of the method of delivery.”

One reason the date was pushed back was because of the survey that was released on Facebook and the school system’s website that parents. The survey asked parents to rate five categories on a scale of one to five with five being very important. The questions asked were: COVID-19 safety, receiving instruction on a school campus, receiving instruction online, access to breakfast and lunch programs and child attending so a parent can work. It also asked if parents wanted their students to return to school via virtual or traditional schooling. 

“I believe that one of the most important things that we could have done was to survey our parents and survey our current stakeholders to gauge what they were thinking,” Boyd said. “We initiated a survey and asked our parents, based on current conditions, what are you thinking about your child receiving schooling in the fall.”

According to Boyd, of those surveyed, 52% said that they wanted their child to have online learning. 

“Parents do have concerns about their child. I have concerns about the staff and I have concerns about myself,” Boyd said. “We’re taking all this information and using it to help us make decisions.”

Even though the plan has not been finalized, Boyd wanted to release the start date now so parents could make arrangements for their children.

“A lot of parents work, and I know they were waiting to see if we were going to delay the start of school,” Boyd said. 

The calendar will be released on both the Lanett Panthers Facebook page and the school’s website. 

According to Boyd, the plan has not been finalized yet because they are getting as much information as they can before making the final decision. That information is coming from East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika and the stakeholders for the school system. 

“We’re still fine-tuning that plan,” Boyd said. “We’re still gathering information. There’s a lot of to be taken into consideration when you’re developing a plan of this magnitude. This remains a very fluid situation. We don’t want to roll out a plan until we have solidified our plan and we know how our plan is going to work.”