The Dripping Springs ISD board of trustees voted Dec. 14 to approve both the academic and budget planning calendars for the 2021-2022 school year.

The approved calendar for the 2021-2022 school year sets the first day of school as Aug. 17. Fall break will be from Nov. 22-26, with winter from Dec. 20-Jan. 5, 2022. Spring break will last from March, 14-18, and school lets out for summer May 26.

Finishing the school year

Trustees also updated the remaining 2020-2021 school year calendar, which shows students returning to class following the winter holidays on Tuesday, Jan. 5, following a staff development day on Jan. 4. Spring break is set for March 15-19, and the last day of school will be May 27, followed by graduation on May 28.

District staff discussed offering a "grace period" for students who are signed up to attend school in person following winter break this year, which would allow students time to quarantine and attend classes virtually if they suspect they may have been exposed to COVID-19 over the holidays. That grace period is tentatively planned to end Jan. 19, at which time students will have to alert district staff ahead of time if they will not be physically attending class.

Karen Kidd, DSISD assistant superintendent for learning and innovation, said it is important students who signed up for in-person classes physically attend school outside this period for safety reasons. Those students are not permitted to opt for a day of virtual learning without prior approval, she said.

"If you're not in the class, if your seat's empty, you are absent. Unless you're quarantined or positive for COVID, you're going to be coded absent," Kidd said. "If we had an emergency on campus, not knowing who is in our building would be a detriment."

Budget planning

Trustees also outlined the schedule for the 2021-2022 school year budget approval process.

Initial workshopping and budget training by staff will begin in January, with all budget requests scheduled for submission by March. The board of trustees will hold a budget workshop sometime in April. A public hearing and opportunity to adopt the budget is planned for June 28, and the 2021-22 tax rate will be approved in August or September.