In a special meeting Tuesday, the Laramie County School District 1 Board of Trustees voted to delay the start of the school year to Aug. 31 -- one week later than what was expected.

"The new start date was selected to allow teachers, students, and parents additional preparation time," LCSD1 said in a news release.

According to a district-wide survey, 5,811 parents, students, and staff members preferred to start school on Aug. 31, while 3,908 preferred to begin on Aug. 24.

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The board also passed a measure to change high schoolers' schedules to a 4x4 schedule for the school year.

"Traditionally, students take eight classes per semester," the district said. "With the new schedule they will be offered the same number of classes; however, they will take four classes first semester and four classes in the second semester."

The change was proposed by high school principals in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Last spring, when school buildings were closed due to COVID-19, students and teachers voiced concerns about keeping up with eight online classes," the district said. "If schools are forced to close again during the pandemic, the 4x4 schedule is designed to ease this situation."

"In addition, with fewer classes, students and teachers will be exposed to fewer people each day," the district added. "According to Laramie County health officials, this will help reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19."

The district says the 4x4 schedule will only be in effect for one year.

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