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Closure of schools in Howard County due to snow could add wrinkle to academic calendar

The closure of Howard County schools on Wednesday due to the snow storm could complicate the system’s academic calendar, especially since officials already announced last week that school year would be extended four days because its inclement weather make-up days had been used up.

The 2018-2019 school calendar had four make-up days built into it. The school board voted last year to not cut into spring break if additional make-up days were needed.

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“It is hard to say what will happen at this point,” said Brian Bassett, a county schools spokesman. “At this point there is no intention on using [spring break] days.”

School system staff will come with recommendations for the county school board to consider at a future meeting, Bassett said.

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The county school system announced Monday that all four of its “inclement weather make-up days” have been used and as a result all schools will be in session until June 21.

A change to the academic calendar can’t happen without a school board vote, Bassett said.

“A decision will have to be made,” Bassett said. “The board will have to consider its options … we have used one more [inclement weather] day.”

Howard has closed school five times due to weather since November: Nov. 15, Jan 14. Jan. 30, Feb. 11 and Feb. 20.

For now, all of Howard’s 77 schools last day of school is June 21.

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Students will attend school for a full day June 18. On June 19, 20 and 21, schools will dismiss three hours early to accommodate for high school final exam and allow for teachers to complete paperwork, file report cards and empty out classrooms.

Maryland law requires schools to be open for a minimum of 180 days each year.

Howard County's School Board voted to request nearly $1 billion in funding for next school year. The funds will come from the Howard County Government, the state of Maryland, federal government and other sources.

The school system could appeal for a waiver and seek approval by the Maryland State Board of Education to allow for Howard schools to be in session for less than 180 days. The state board denied Howard’s request last year.

The school board will discuss how to account for Wednesday's closure as well as any future inclement weather closings at an upcoming public meeting. A meeting has not been scheduled at this time.

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