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Friday's wind storm closings buffet Howard school calendar

Howard County schools will now be open for students on April 5, 6 and 7 as well as May 18 and June 15.
Howard County schools will now be open for students on April 5, 6 and 7 as well as May 18 and June 15. (Amy Davis/Baltimore Sun file)

Howard County students stayed home for a fifth day this school year on Friday, bringing more changes to the school system’s academic calendar to make up for inclement weather closings.

Students will now also head to class on June 15 for a half day, in addition to a half day on May 18. They also are to report for full days on April 4, 5 and 6, days that had been scheduled as spring break. June 12, which had been scheduled as a half day, will now be a full school day. June 15 and May 18 had been scheduled as professional development days.

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June 18 and June 19 will now be used for professional development days.

School systems across the state have been scrambling to find room in their calendars for makeup days following Gov. Larry Hogan’s mandate this year that all school years finish by June 15.

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With its second snow day of the year on Wednesday, Howard County School students are still left to wonder when they’ll be headed in for makeup days, as school officials say there is no decision yet on what adjustments will be made to the school calendar.

Colleen Morris, president of the Howard County Education Association, the school system’s educators’ union, said that the constraints on the calendar have made it more difficult to accommodate religious holidays and professional development days.

“The bookends the governor has put on us is making it difficult all around,” Morris said. “Counties are all facing the same problem, but the only solution is for the governor to change the executive order.”

Morris, as well as Board of Education chairwoman Cindy Vaillancourt, have both voiced concern that a large number of students will be absent during the days made up in April, as families may not opt to cancel previously set travel plans. However Morris and Vaillancourt said they are not concerned about having enough teachers in attendance for those days.

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“It’s basically an experiment year for the governor’s edict,” Vaillancourt said. “I think most of our teachers are going to make the personal sacrifices necessary to show up to school.”

This story was corrected March 5. An earlier version incorrectly stated schools would be in session April 7, which is a Saturday.

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