CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — It may be July, but Monday was the first day of school for some students in Chesterfield County.
Bellwood and Falling Creek Elementary Schools are both now on a new year-round schedule.
The school year is split into quarters. The students spent about nine weeks in school and then have a three-week break, which continues to rotate year-round.
During the intermissions, the schools will allow students to come back for additional academic time and other activities like coding, archery or chess club.
“I can’t lie, my first reaction was, ‘uhhh…,'” said parent Kristine Manuel, who has a daughter entering second grade and a son entering pre-kindergarten at Bellwood this year.
Manual said she was hesitant at first but now likes the schedule.
Last year was Bellwood’s first time trying the year-round schedule.
“It’s really worked for my daughter,” Manuel said.
Chesterfield County Public Schools said the change is designed to help students hold on to information they often lose during the traditionally long summer break.
At Falling Creek Elementary, it is the first year trying the year-round schedule.
“We’re hoping to see that they haven’t regressed as much as they would if it was a normal summer break,” Pamela Johnson, principal of Falling Creek Elementary School said.
Manuel said she already sees a difference with her daughter at Bellwood.
“After doing it last year, I noticed that it is so much easier this year for her to retain the things that she learned,” Manuel said.
However, some parents are not fond of the new schedule.
One parent who did not want to go on-camera is concerned because she will soon have one child in elementary school on the year-round schedule, and another in middle school, still on the traditional schedule.
Johnson said the old schedule is outdated.
“Why do we still have a calendar that was set up in the 18th century and we’re trying to take kids to the 21st century?,” she said.
A spokesperson for Chesterfield County Public Schools said, at this time, the school district does not have any plans to expand the year-round schedule to all schools.