RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Some Richmond elementary school students might soon have shorter summer vacations. Superintendent Jason Kamras recently proposed the school year be extended from 180 days to 200 days, as student academic performances continue to suffer following the COVID-19 pandemic.

If the board approves an extended school year, the decision will be optional for each individual school.

“We’ll do it if there’s one school that is interested, or if there are three, or if there are five,” Kamras said. “We’re trying to keep this small so that way we can afford it, execute well and really show some big impact on student achievement.”

Parents would also have the opportunity to send their children to another school if they don’t want them in the classroom longer. The plan would also allow teachers to transfer schools.

Kamras told 8News, the extended school year is about more than just learning but also managing elementary school students’ mental health.

“Schools are trying to manage all of that and it’s hard and we need more support, but I also believe we need more time,” he said.

According to Kamras, there should be decisions on an extended school year by March 1. The goal would be to try it for at least three years. If the board approves a 200-day school year, it could take effect as early as next school year.