What Does Research Say About Staggered School Calendars?
Governor Newsom has discussed staggered or multi-track calendars as an option for going back to school in fall 2020. A review of research on multi-track calendars shows that over time there are slight negative effects on learning, but this research was done during a period where the alternative was a traditional calendar. In the current situation, which would otherwise have students staying home entirely, a staggered calendar would have clear learning benefits and would help both parents and teachers get back to work. There is, however, no evidence that multi-track calendars reduce crowding enough to control COVID-19 transmission. Schools will need to look at evidence from other countries that are trying this approach and, if it is indeed implemented, would need to partner with local communities, counties, and the state to test aggressively for the virus.