As the August 19 back-to-school date approaches, parents and caregivers need to take note of the new start and end times for area schools. Because of the new four-day school week, both the opening and dismissal times are very different from previous years as is the school board's policy on absenteeism.

At Cherry Ridge, H.V. Adams, Oak Hill, Pine Grove and Morehouse Magnet elementary schools, school will start at 8:00 a.m. and end at 4:30 p.m. At Delta Magnet, Morehouse Jr. High and Bastrop High, school will start at 7:30 a.m. and end at 4:15 p.m.

For teachers at elementary schools, hours will be 7:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. For teachers at Delta Magnet, MJH and BHS, hours will be 7:15 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Bastrop Learning Academy will have the same start and end times as Delta Magnet.

Principals at individual schools will set the duty time and schedules for their campus based on school needs.

With the new four day school week and lengthened school day, high school students must miss no more than five days per semester during the school year while Pre-K to eighth grade students must miss no more than nine days per year.

The changes to the attendance policy have been sent to schools for inclusion in the 2014 to 2015 handbooks. The full policy presented in the plan states:

"Elementary students shall be in attendance a minimum of 60,120 minutes (equivalent to 167 six-hour days) a school year. In order to be eligible to receive grades, high school students shall be in attendance a minimum of 30,060 minutes (equivalent to 83.5 six-hour school days), per semester or 60,120 minutes (equivalent to 167 six- hour school days) a school year for schools not operating on a semester basis."

Also, parents looking for school supply lists for individual schools may use the standardized list for all Morehouse Parish Schools provided by the school board to department stores such as Fred's and Wal-Mart.

A school bus schedule for the parish should also be finalized within the next few days.