Worcester, Wicomico School Systems Weigh Calendars

NEWARK – The new state-mandated post-Labor Day school start has simplified the calendar process for local jurisdictions.

In Worcester County, the school system has put forth two potential school year options instead of the usual three in the annual calendar survey. In Wicomico County, two options were provided to the public but only one included the post-Labor Day start that has now been made a requirement in Maryland.

While Wicomico County’s school board is expected to make a final calendar decision in December, Worcester officials won’t adopt a calendar until February. Because the county typically starts school after Labor Day, officials weren’t overly concerned about the impact of the executive order from Gov. Larry Hogan that will now require schools to open after the holiday.

“We are certainly not in the uphill battle most other counties are,” said Carrie Sterrs, coordinator of public relations for Worcester County Public Schools.

Worcester County’s calendar survey offers two options. While both include Sept. 5 as the first day of school, the number of days school is closed throughout the year differ in the two alternatives. The calendar developed for “frequent flyers” includes a Thanksgiving break from Nov. 22-24, a winter break from Dec. 22 through Jan. 1 and a spring break from March 29-April 2. The last day of school would be June 15 if that calendar is adopted. The other “surfers” calendar option includes the same Thanksgiving break but features a winter break from Dec. 25-Jan. 1 and a spring break March 30-April 2. The last day of school for that calendar would be June 13.

The calendar survey will be sent to county schools so students, staff and parents can voice their opinions.

“Survey results will be analyzed to determine which calendar proposal the superintendent will recommend to the board of education,” Sterrs said.

In Wicomico, the public has already been queried on calendar options. When the school system put out two potential calendars (prior to Hogan’s executive order) for public consideration earlier this fall, more than 300 people shared their opinions. According to school system officials 72 percent of respondents preferred the calendar that started school after Labor Day. The calendar includes a Thanksgiving break from Nov. 22-24, a winter break from Dec. 20-Jan. 1, and a spring break from March 29-April 2. The school year would start Sept. 5 and end June 12.

It’s that calendar the school board is expected to adopt Dec. 13, although public comment is still being taken by email comments@wcboe.org or call 410-677-5251 before Dec. 7.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.