Orion adopts 2021-22 school calendar

by Mindy Carls correspondent

Just in case, the 2021-22 school year will have five remote-planning days for teachers preparing lessons for online learners, according to the calendar the Orion school board adopted on Wednesday, Feb. 17.

The calendar may change if Gov. J.B. Pritzker issues pandemic-related executive orders, Superintendent Joe Blessman told the school board.

As approved for now, teachers start Wednesday, Aug. 11. Students begin attending classes Monday, Aug. 16, although that could be moved up to Friday, Aug. 13.

Parent-teacher conferences are Thursday, Oct. 21, and Friday, Oct. 22.

The Thanksgiving holiday break will be Wednesday, Nov. 24, through Friday, Nov. 26. Christmas break will be Monday, Dec. 20, through Monday, Jan. 3.

Friday, March 25, will be a teachers’ institute day, with spring break running from Monday, March 28, through Friday, April 1.

Easter is Sunday, April 17, and Easter break will be Friday, April 15, through Monday, April 18.

The last day of school will be Tuesday, May 24, unless emergency days are used. The calendar has eight emergency days, May 25 through May 27, May 31, June 1 through June 3, and June 6.


The board accepted the retirement request of Orion Middle School’s principal. Dr. Laura Nelson.

Resignations accepted effective immediately were from Chrissy Zurcher, OMS cook; Heather Larkins, C.R. Hanna Elementary School paraprofessional, and Brittany Brown, Orion High School spirit coach.

Volunteer coaches approved for Orion High School were Travis Anderson, Jason Marshall and Brandon Wilkerson, boys basketball; Chris Dhabalt, girls basketball; Brown, basketball spirit squad; Daniel Cline, Sydney Early, Colin Hepner and Baillie McCunn, boys and girls soccer and Tori Hohl, volleyball.

The board hired two half-time assistant coaches, Dylan Schultz and Pharaoh Gay, for Orion High School.

Also hired were Pamela Jackson as a bus driver, Louvenia Schoutteet as a bus monitor and Jessica Kettler as a childcare provider for the ESP program.

In other business

• C.R. Hanna principal R.C. Lowe said preschool screenings will be Wednesday, March 24, at Orion United Methodist Church, where there is room for social distancing. Kindergarten Roundup will be 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 14, at C.R. Hanna.

• Lowe reported the fourth grade teachers and students provided military care packages for Operation Gratitude.

• OMS custodians Anthony Zuidema and Dennis Lehr built red and black metal tables for the learning garden. Zuidema also painted the OMS offices.

• Blessman thanked the custodial staff for reporting at 3 a.m. to start clearing snow and ice from parking lots and sidewalks, while Transportation Director Julie Lough, Maintenance Director Tom Hamerlinck and Blessman were out checking roads.

• The middle school is streaming live events on its webpage under the Athletics tab. After the event ends, anyone can watch it on demand.

• Blessman reported 111 faculty and staff were to receive their second COVID-19 vaccine shots on Friday, Feb. 19. Board member Christi Monson thanked school nurse Kenis Johnson for all she has done during the pandemic.

• OMS has 17 remote learners, and C.R. Hanna has 23

History Bowl can be viewed on Facebook this year.