Thursday night, the Dickinson Public School Board approved the Dickinson Public School District's request to push the start date of the 2020-2021 school year to Sept. 2.

The new start date is five days later than the previous start date, and all five days will be used as professional development days.

Superintendent Shon Hocker explained the decision in a letter to parents.

"As a result of survey feedback and guidance we received this past June from staff, parents and students, we realized DPS needed a better Learning Management System (LMS) to create a higher quality and more meaningful educational opportunity for our students," he wrote. " ... This delay of five days will allow teachers and paraprofessionals a little more time to become more proficient with the new LMS, while also learning new methods and procedures that will be required to maintain a safe and healthy school setting for all."

Despite the decision, no additional changes will need to be made to the calendar. The last day of the school year will remain May 26, 2021. There will be no change in athletics. Dickinson High School students attending classes at Dickinson State University will still attend those classes starting Aug. 24, as they will be following the DSU academic calendar.

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Members of the school board had attended a workshop with the superintendent, assistant superintendent and business manager on Aug. 5, prior to the school board meeting to discuss the possible change to the calendar.

In other news, the school board scheduled a special board meeting for Aug. 24 at 5 p.m. in the Professional Learning Lab to approve the district's reopening plan, which includes both the district's distance learning plan as well as its health and safety plan.

The district's administrative cabinet met in Medora, Friday, to review the re-entry plan.