With students having just started their first week of four-day in-person instruction since the start of the pandemic, the Moscow School Board on Wednesday discussed shifting to a full five-day week but stopped short of passing a resolution.

Moscow students started the year attending school in a hybrid schedule with two days of in-person instruction a week but Tuesday began a new schedule that includes four days face-to-face, with coming Wednesdays reserved for helping struggling students keep up with their classes.

In its regular meeting, the board weighed the possibility of setting a target date for returning to a full five-day school week of face-to-face classes but chose not to pass a resolution until more data could be collected.

Superintendent Greg Bailey told trustees he would like to survey parents and teachers before making such a move, but if it were to happen, the change likely would be limited to elementary schools in the district.

“At the high school and middle school, just the way they’re set up, we’re not really looking towards moving that to a five-day (school week) at this point,” Bailey said. “(For) the elementaries, there’s things we want to look at before we make that move and we want to get input from the parents and the teachers in regards to moving to a five-day (week) with that younger group.”

Multiple school principals told Bailey and the board that using Wednesdays to help struggling students has become invaluable to students and teachers alike.

Russell Elementary Principal Craig Allen pointed out adding a fifth day of in-person instruction would add only four or five days of face-to-face classes to the current schedule.

Kim Mikolajczyk, principal of McDonald Elementary, said those Wednesdays are “full, full, full,” for instructors and have been useful in helping struggling students keep pace with their classmates.

Lena Whitmore Principal Kendra McMillan agreed, saying “our Wednesdays are priceless.”

“Keeping it at four days right now feels really good. After two days, we are bone-tired — our kids are exhausted (and) our teachers are exhausted,” McMillan said. “The thought of going to five days as of April is pretty daunting right now — I would propose holding off a little bit longer.”

The board gave Bailey approval to conduct surveys of parents and teachers that would gauge their receptiveness to shifting to five days.

Bailey said the earliest such a move could conceivably take place would be in mid-April at the start of the fourth quarter of the school year but told trustees there’s little point in shifting to a five-day week if it would begin after April 30.

Bailey will host a virtual community chat with the superintendent at 7 p.m. tonight. Those who wish to attend can visit msd281.org/home for a link to the meeting.

Scott Jackson can be reached at (208) 883-4636, or by email to sjackson@dnews.com.

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