County Stays With Post-Holiday Start; Survey Finds Shorter Breaks Favored

County Stays With Post-Holiday Start; Survey Finds Shorter Breaks Favored
The approved school calendar with a start date of Sept. 8 is pictured. Submitted Image

NEWARK –  School system officials on Tuesday approved a calendar for the 2020-2021 school year.

The Worcester County Board of Education voted unanimously to approve a calendar that begins the school year on Sept. 8, the day after Labor Day, and ends the year on June 15. The calendar, which features the earliest possible last day of school, was selected over a calendar that featured slightly longer breaks.

“The proposals themselves were very similar in nature,” said Carrie Sterrs, the school system’s coordinator of public relations and special programs. “There were only one or two dates that were a little bit different.”

Sterrs said a calendar committee was formed in the fall to come up with two calendar options — one focused on a calendar with frequent, lengthier breaks and the other aimed at ending the school year as early as possible. The options were presented to the public for input in December. An online survey yielded 659 responses, 91% of which were from parents and employees.

“Four percent of responses came from students and bus contractors and nearly 5% identified themselves as just community members,” Sterrs said.

She said there were 365 votes — about 55% of those cast — in favor of the calendar featuring the earlier dismissal and shorter breaks. There were 294 votes — 44% — for the calendar featuring more frequent breaks.

The recommended calendar starts school Sept. 8 and features a week-and-a-half long winter break, a spring break of Good Friday and Easter Monday (with a half day on the Thursday before Good Friday) and a tentative last day of school on June 15. The final day of school will depend on whether inclement weather make-up days are needed.

Superintendent Lou Taylor thanked Sterrs for her leadership in developing the calendar and praised her efforts to get feedback from as many stakeholders as possible.

“I know there’s a lot of input you take to make this come to fruition,” he said.

The school board voted unanimously to approve the recommended calendar.

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.