NEWARK –The last day of school has been pushed back in Worcester County as the school system struggles to make up for nine snow days.
The final day of school for students in Worcester County’s public schools will be June 18, two days later than originally planned. In addition, April 2, which was to be a professional day, will now be a half-day of school for students.
“Winter on the Lower Eastern Shore has been harsh once again,” said Jerry Wilson, Worcester County’s superintendent of schools. “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.”
To make up for the nine days missed because of snow and ice, the school system has added two days to the end of the school year, added a half-day April 2 and will seek a state waiver for three days—the three days that coincided with the Maryland State Police and State Highway Administration snow emergency plans. Three snow days were already built into the school calendar.
Barb Witherow, the school system’s public relations coordinator, said the half-day would count as a full day in this scenario.
“Because our school system far exceeds the 1,080-hour requirement for students to attend school over the 180-day period, adding a half day to the calendar is a great option,” she said, adding that it would only reduce spring break by about three-and-a-half hours.
Witherow said that if the state did not approve the school system’s request for a waiver, the last day of school could be as late as June 23.
Wilson expressed optimism for the request, however.
“When there is inclement weather that results in school closings beyond the three days built into the calendar,” he said, “the calendar becomes a work in progress. 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.”
There were 10 school closings due to inclement weather last year, and with three built into the calendar, Worcester officials had to recoup seven. Two were recouped by modifying the calendar and the state approved a waiver for four of the closings, which left one to make up. That one was added to end of the school year, moving the last day from June 12 to June 13.