By Jesse Sarles

WESTMINSTER, Colo. (CBS4) – It’s not required, but students in Westminster Public Schools will have the opportunity to attend extra days of classes after the previously scheduled end of the school year. It’s intended to help make up for learning losses as a result of the pandemic.

The last day of class was originally scheduled to be on May 25. The district announced their decision on Thursday to extend the school year to June 11. That’s 12 more school days than originally planned. (Classes won’t be held on Memorial Day — May 31.)

READ MORE: Colorado School Districts Consider Starting Earlier Next Year

Teachers and other staff will get paid for the extra work through COVID funds obtained from the federal government.

Superintendent Dr. Pamela Swanson is “encouraging every parent to take advantage of this unique opportunity,” according to a news release from WPS.

“A student who is behind his/her peers can catch up, while a high achieving student can continue to push themselves to the next level,” Swanson said.

READ MORE: Colorado Educators Question Importance Of Standardized Testing During Pandemic

The change is being made following a survey that went out to parents and guardians. Two-thirds of those who responded to the survey said they were in favor of extending the school year.

“I am so thankful WPS is considering this as an option. Students didn’t gain what they should’ve while learning remotely and this would be a great opportunity to get closer to that goal,” wrote one parent who provided a text response in the survey.

WPS officials said there were some parents who opposed the measure. One wrote, “These kids need summer to recharge from the stress of last year.”

The district will hold a meeting on Monday night at 6 p.m. to discuss the change.

While some other school districts have been considering such a move, Westminster appears to be the first in the state to move forward with a plan like this.

Jesse Sarles