30 extra minutes? Local district plans to extend school day next year for some students

ATLANTA — Students in one local school district will spend more of their day in the classroom next year.

Atlanta Public Schools is planning to add an extra 30 minutes per day in elementary schools to make up for learning losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Some officials with APS believe extending the school day is the only way for those students to catch up.

Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes received mixed opinions from parents on the extended school day. While most were not against it, many were concerned whether or not those extra minutes will be used to their advantage.

“I don’t think it’ll help too much, honestly,” said parent Brittany Ingram.

Ingram told Fernandes that prior to the pandemic, there were already educational disparities among brown and Black communities. She recognizes that APS is now trying to do something, but she is not convinced that this decision is the solution.

“I think it’s a Band-Aid to kind of OK the situation for the moment but they’re not really pinpointing what the parents and teachers need to get through this school year,” she said.

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Kenny Kinard has a student going into the first grade and he thinks adding 30 minutes to the day is a good idea if teachers take full advantage of the extra time.

“The education level has always been like that in the different neighborhoods anyway, so I don’t think that time is gonna make the difference, I think the effort of the teacher is gonna make the difference,” Kinard said.

In the 2020-2021 school year, APS elementary students were in school from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Officials have not yet determined where the extra minutes will be added in the day.

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The last day of school for APS this year is May 26. In a memo to parents, APS officials also announced that the final day of the school year will take place in-person, even for those who chose virtual learning.

State officials are urging all Georgia school districts to find a way to make up for educational losses.