Monday, December 5, 2022

WJCC School Board Approves ’22-’23 Start Date, Talks Mask Mandate Lift

The WJCC School Board approved the 2022-2023 school year calendar that will see an Aug. 29 start date for students. (WYDaily file)

WILLIAMSBURG-JAMES CITY COUNTY — Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools (WJCC) students will return to school on Monday, Aug. 29 for the 2022-2023 school year.

During the Tuesday, Feb. 15 meeting, the WJCC School Board approved the 2022-2023 school year calendar that notes an Aug. 29 student start date, with the school year ending for its students on Thursday, June 15, 2023.

The Board heard two options for the 2022-2023 academic calendar earlier this month.

Developed by the WJCC calendar committee, which consists of a group of staff and community members, both calendar options maintained the pre-Labor Day start dates from the 2021-2022 school year.

The first option was to have a Monday, Aug. 29 start date, with Thursday, June 15 as the last day of school. The second option saw a Wednesday, Aug. 24 start date, with Thursday, June 8 as the last day of school.

The committee then received feedback from community members on the two different options in a survey, with 1700 respondents.

Daniel Keever, the division’s chief operating officer, said that teachers generally showed preference for the Aug. 29 start date as that option includes six designated days for teacher collaboration/learning days and it would allow teachers to return to school at a later date.

The Board unanimously voted to approve the academic calendar with the Aug. 29 start date.

The calendar will also see Thanksgiving break from Nov. 23-25, winter break from Dec. 19-30, spring break April 3-7, with the year concluding on June 15.

Earlier on in the meeting, the Board also addressed Senate Bill 739 (SB 739), which would bring an end to universal masking in Virginia’s public schools. After passed by the Virginia General Assembly, Gov. Youngkin added recommendations to include moving the bill’s start date from July 1 to March 1 for all of the Commonwealth’s school systems to be in compliance.

WJCC Superintendent Dr. Olwen Herron said that the division will comply with the law.

“I’m glad to hear that our division will comply with the law regarding the lifting of mask mandates,” Board Member Sarah Ortego said. “I would like to point out that this will remain a personal choice for students and their families. Some will remain masked, some will not, and this is the time for all of us to demonstrate respect for individual choices for our children.”

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