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As Howard snow days start to pile up, no word on school makeup days

Kate Magill
Contact ReporterHoward County Times

With its second snow day of the year on Wednesday, Howard County school officials said there is no decision on what adjustments will be made to the school calendar.

About a half-inch of snow coated the Baltimore area on Wednesday morning, causing the school system to announce a two-hour delay and later closing.

School officials announced last week that they would wait until “later in the winter” to make a determination of when to hold makeup days. Spokesman Brian Bassett said officials “need a better idea of how many days we’re looking at” before making a decision.

While in past years officials built makeup days into the school calendar or extended the school year in the event of weather closings, Gov. Larry Hogan’s mandate that schools start after Labor Day and finish by June 15 made planning more difficult. The last scheduled student day for the 2017-2018 school year is June 14.

That leaves the county with one day at the end of the year to use as a makeup day. Officials announced in a Jan. 12 letter that another makeup day could be May 18. Three days of the scheduled spring break, April 4, 5 and 6, are also options.

If schools are closed due to inclement weather for more than five days, the school system may apply for a state waiver of the requirement that students attend classes for at least 180 days.

Howard County Education Association President Colleen Morris said using spring break poses problems as families may choose to keep previously planned vacations, leading to a large number of student absences.

“If you only have a small percentage of class because parents have already made vacation plans, it’ll be difficult to cover the curriculum,” Morris said.

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