By Nicole Nielsen

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dallas ISD says their students are falling behind due to COVID-19.

“50% of our students have shown that they are worse off in math than before the pandemic, 30% are worse off in reading,” said Derek Little, deputy chief academic officer for DISD.

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That’s why at Thursday night’s board meeting, three calendars for the next two years were approved.

One is their traditional school year calendar, while the other two offer a longer school year.

The longer options are only available for schools with students in Pre-K through eighth grade.

For the next few weeks, Dallas ISD will be working to survey as many teachers, staff members and parents as possible who will vote for which calendar they’d like to follow at individual schools.

“If schools want to move to an extended year model they will opt into that after garnering enough interest from teachers staff and parents,” said Little.

The first option is the school day redesign calendar, which offers more education time for all students.

If you’re a parent whose school chooses this option and you want to opt out, you can only do so by transferring your child.

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The other option is the intersession calendar, which creates certain weeks through the year where some students would be off while others would stay in class for personalized learning.

If a school chooses this option and a parent wants their child to opt out, they can transfer them or have them skip the extra days at no penalty.

DISD says they expect most of their schools to use the traditional calendar and are offering the extended options for those who need more learning time.

Sam Tasby Middle School is one who says their students have fallen behind due to COVID-19.

“It took some time, to get them the technology and to get them the access to the technology, and so the time that we would have typically spent on content has been on the how-to’s,” said Sam Tasby Middle School Principal Audrey de la Cruz.

So far 52 out of their 55 teachers have responded in favor of the intersession calendar.

“I really liked the idea of the intercession because it allows us to have those smaller class sizes, those immediate interventions for kids,” said DISD teacher Jamie Beesley.

Dallas ISD says they should have more information at their next board meeting in two weeks.

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Nicole Nielsen