(March 20, 2015) A taste of warmer weather this week may have pushed all thoughts of snow from our minds, but the school board still needed to deal with six weather-related closings that already happened this year and meet the state-mandated 180-day calendar.
The school board voted unanimously at their meeting on March 17 to approve a calendar modification, which would add two days to the end of the school year and change April 2 from a professional day with no school for students, to a half-day of school.
The schools will seek a waiver from the state for the remaining three days, when a Snow Emergency Plan was activated by both the State Highway Administration and the Maryland State Police, which limited vehicle access to roads. These three dates are Feb. 17, Feb. 26 and March 5.
“Winter on the Lower Eastern Shore has been harsh once again. In fact, cold temperatures, along with icy and snowy conditions, are becoming the norm it seems,” said Superintendent Dr. Jerry Wilson in a release. “Winter’s treacherous conditions have precipitated the close of schools for a total of nine days to date. Without additional modifications to our calendar, the school year would extend into the fourth week of June. Making April 2 a half-day of school for students will help us recoup a lost day and shorten the extended school year.”
Worcester County Schools were closed for nine days due to inclement weather this year, and have three snow days built into the calendar, which left school officials six snow days to make up.
Extending the calendar to include June 17 and 18 will recoup the last two days needed if the state superintendent approves the waiver.
“If the waiver is approved by the State Superintendent of Schools,” Barb Witherow, schools spokesperson, said, “the last two days of school [June 17 and 18] would be half-days for all students. June 15 and 16 would be restored as full days. Having June 18 as the last day of school is contingent on the approval of the waiver request for three days.”
The last day of school could be Tuesday, June 23 if the waiver request is not approved.
“When there is inclement weather that results in school closings beyond the three days built into the calendar, the calendar becomes a work in progress,” said Wilson, in a release. “The state expects us to modify our calendar where we can. Having done that, the state is usually receptive to considering waiver requests on days when opening schools was not an option.”