School day for Atlanta’s elementary students to be 30 minutes longer

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Atlanta’s elementary students will be in class a little longer next school year.

An extra 30 minutes will be added onto the school day beginning Aug. 5, the first day of the 2021-2022 academic year.

Atlanta Public Schools officials said the extended day will allow schools to pack in more instruction. They say it’s needed to help students struggling with studies during the pandemic.

“All schools are required to implement an intervention, acceleration or enrichment block during the school day, and in order to accommodate this requirement at the elementary level, 30 minutes will be added to the elementary school day,” Chief of Schools Anita Williams told board members at a recent meeting.

The district’s elementary schools currently start at 8 a.m. and end at 2:30 p.m. A district spokesman said officials have not yet determined how they will change the schedule to fit in the additional time.

Middle and high school schedules will remain the same. They will add academic intervention time into the existing school schedule.

The district previously announced it would make in-person learning the default option next school year, though online options will be available for students.

APS also plans to return to a five-day-a-week schedule, instead of reserving Wednesdays as an at-home independent work day. That has been the practice since students began returning to school buildings in January.

Elementary school employees will be paid for the additional half hour, with funding to come from federal stimulus dollars.

Hourly staffers currently work a 37.5-hour per week schedule. They will be paid for 40 hours next school year, and receive overtime pay if they exceed that, said Skye Duckett, chief human resources officer.

Salaried employees will receive a stipend for working a longer day, though the district has not yet announced how much it will be.