The threat of a federal shutdown dealt the final blow in the decision to postpone Prince George’s County’s elementary school Science Bowl competition, which had been scheduled to start Oct. 1.
“We have never had to postpone before for any reason other than inclement weather,” said David Zahren, who is in his 28th year of hosting the program.
The Science Bowl, which began in 1986, is the county school system’s weekly quiz program, in which elementary- and middle-school student teams compete by answering a series of science questions. It is airs on Comcast Channel 96, Verizon Channel 38 and on YouTube.
The elementary school teams that were scheduled to compete Oct. 1 — Pointer Ridge, Forest Heights, Tayac and Mattaponi elementary schools — will instead compete Oct. 14, Zahren said. The Oct. 8 match — between Northview, Rogers Heights, Mount Rainier and Rosaryville elementary schools — will take place as scheduled, Zahren said.
Zahren said a couple factors forced the postponement, including a potential lack of judges.
Some of the judges come from the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, a federal wildlife refuge.
“If the facility is closed, they would not be able to come out,” Zahren said, noting that the judges serve as part of the center’s community outreach efforts.
The federal government is expected to shut down at 12:01 a.m. Oct. 1 unless Congress can pass a stopgap funding measure. Should a government shutdown occur, federal employees deemed nonessential would be furloughed.
In addition to the possible shutdown, Zahren said work on the Science Bowl set, expected to be completed prior to the season, are being completed this week.
“The contractor was running a little behind,” Zahren said, adding that work includes painting, installation of new lights and remodeling of the studio.
Zahren said the air dates for the competitions will most likely be switched, with the Oct. 8 match now airing the week of Oct. 14 though Oct. 20, and the postponed matches airing Oct. 21 through Oct. 27.