Wicomico Denied Snow Days Waiver; Revised Calendar To Waive Closures

SALISBURY – Wicomico County Public Schools will add two school days to its 2017-2018 calendar after learning that state education officials will not grant its request to waive two school closures that occurred in January.

At the recommendation of Superintendent Donna Hanlin, the Wicomico County Board of Education last month agreed to seek a waiver from the Maryland State Board of Education that would excuse the school system from two school closures that occurred Jan. 4 and 5.

The decision to pursue a waiver came after Winter Storm Grayson closed schools for five days.

“The first two days of that storm the governor did declare a state of emergency in the three lower shore counties,” Hanlin told the board at its January meeting. “Some of the public understand or believe that those days are automatically excused. They are not automatically excused. We have to ask for those days to be excused.”

On Tuesday, however, Wicomico County Public Schools announced state education officials did not grant their request.

“The state board indicated that they believe local school systems should use every available option to make up missed instructional time within the calendar before they will grant a waiver to adjust the length of the school year,” a press release from the school system reads.

Because a mandate from Gov. Larry Hogan requires schools to end by June 15, Wicomico County Public Schools will now be in session on Feb. 19, when schools would have been closed for Presidents Day, and on March 29, which would have been a professional day for teachers but will now be a school day with a two-hour early dismissal.

Public schools in Wicomico County will also be in session on designated makeup days from June 12-15. Students will be dismissed two hours early on those days.

“Please note that June 8, 11 and 12 are now full school days rather than early dismissal days,” the press release reads. “A revised 2017-2018 calendar will be available soon on the school system’s website.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.