School Systems Applying for Snow Day Waivers

The state superintendent of schools is already beginning to respond to applications from local school systems to waive up to five days from the required 180 instructional days, approving the full five days for Kent County last week. State Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick outlined a waiver process February 23 for Maryland school systems whose calendars have been affected by record snowfalls this winter. Kent County was the first of the Mid-Shore counties to apply for the waiver.

Ten days of school were canceled in Kent County this winter because of harsh weather, but five snow days were built into the calendar, said Kent County Public Schools Superintendent Barbara Wheeler. The waiver relieves the need to adjust the calendar or tack days onto the end of the school year, keeping June 11 as the last day of school for students. If any additional days are missed, Wheeler said the parent/teacher conference day on March 31 and the first day of spring vacation on April 1 will become regular school days.

Queen Anne’s County Superintendent Carol Williamson said the school board is considering asking for two days to be waived to make up for students attending on President’s Day and the following day, which was scheduled as a professional day. Queen Anne’s County canceled seven days of school this winter, but had five snow days included in the calendar and made up two days that previously were scheduled off, keeping the last day of school as June 17. If the school system applies for the waiver and is granted approval, the last day of school for students will be June 15. The school board will make a decision at its April meeting, which will be held March 29.

Using feedback from parents and community members who responded to a survey on the QACPS Web site, Williamson said the school board has decided not to take away any days from spring vacation if additional school days are missed, since parents are encouraged to plan family vacations around that time.