State School Board OKs Waiver Request for Baltimore County, Denies Others

After struggling to squeeze enough school days into a snow-filled year while also complying with a strict mandate from the Hogan Administration, eight school systems applied for a waiver from the State Board of Education to extend the academic year.

A Hogan Executive Order prohibits schools from being in session past June 15, but the General Assembly this year passed emergency legislation authorizing school systems to request a waiver from a law that requires 180 days of student instruction per year.

The State Board approved an eight-hour waiver for Baltimore County high schools and a one-day waiver for schools in Kent County and St. Mary’s County. The board denied waiver requests from schools in Cecil County, as well as two-day waivers for Caroline, Howard, Somerset, and Queen Anne’s schools.

According to The Baltimore Sun:

Several area school systems shortened their spring break into a four-day weekend, while others held classes on the Monday after Easter or on President’s Day.

Baltimore County’s situation with its high schools was unique. The system built five extra days into its calendar to allow for bad-weather days, and used them all. While elementary and middle schools are on track to meet the state requirement, high schoolers would be eight hours short because their school day is shorter than most high school students’ in the state.

Baltimore County’s waiver, however, is contingent on the school system’s agreeing to lengthen the school day for high school students next school year.

The school year will likely be extended through June 19 in jurisdictions where waiver requests were denied.

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