By Morgan Pilz, Staff Writer
(May 21, 2020) A modified 2019-2020 Worcester County Public Schools’ calendar was approved by the Board of Education during its teleconference monthly meeting on Tuesday.
The Maryland State Department of Education initially closed all the state’s schools from March 16-27 to limit the spread of covid-19, but on March 25 extended the closure by four weeks until April 24. On April 17, State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon announced another extension to May 15. Finally, on May 7, the state decided that schools would be closed for the rest of the semester.
Since the initial closure, students have been using online learning services so they wouldn’t falling behind academically. According to Worcester County schools’ Chief Operating & Academic Officer, Dr. Annette Wallace, around 98 percent of Worcester County public school students have access to the online learning system either through means of their own or hotspots acquired by the school board.
Carrie Sterrs, coordinator of public relations and special programs for Worcester County Public Schools, gave the updated calendar recommended by county Superintendent of Schools Lou Taylor.
“Mr. Taylor, our superintendent, has received a response to the school system’s waiver request,” Sterrs said. “Within that response, State Superintendent Dr. Karen Salmon agreed to waive five of the 10 days that Maryland schools were mandated to be closed in March.”
In addition to the five waived school days, the board has also approved convereting April 7-9 from closure days to “continuity of learning days.”
“This has left a gap of two student instructional days, which the school system needs to address through a final modification,” Sterrs said.
The school board’s recommendation is to end the school year for students on Friday, June 12 and Monday, June 15. Sterrs said this was the same end date as previously approved on the original school calendar.
“We have left June 12 and 15 as early dismissal days for our students, as this will allow teachers to utilize this time to close out the school year and finalize grades for both quarter four and semester,” she said.