Charles and St. Mary’s school boards last week viewed recommendations for public school calendars.
While St. Mary’s school board voted to change its 2020-2021 calendar slightly, a Charles school official made suggestions for its 2021-2022 calendar.
St. Mary’s public schools made adjustments to this school year’s calendar based on virtual learning and new policies that eliminated mid-quarter interim reporting.
“That then buys us a day at the end of the year,” Jeff Maher, chief strategic officer, said at a Sept 9 meeting.
June 17, 2021, is now the final day for students, if the four built-in inclement weather days were used, and June 18 was changed to a staff development day.
And, Friday, Sept. 25, was changed to an instructional day, or a day for asynchronous learning. It was a professional development day and a day off for students to enjoy the fair, which has been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Chesapeake Public Charter School also changed Sept. 25 to an instructional day, as well as Oct. 12, which could be the first day for in-person learning for kindergarten, first and sixth grades. However, the decision on when to bring back students to St. Mary’s public schools was put on pause this week after a COVID-19 outbreak among some teachers.
The last day for charter school students is June 9, 2021, a two-hour early dismissal. June 10 and 11 are professional development days for teachers at that school.
The St. Mary’s board approved all the changes.
Charles considers changes
Shelley Mackey, Charles County’s communication specialist, said in an email this school year’s calendar for Charles students did not need an adjustment. Although students are off for the now canceled county fair, it will still be a professional development day and contracted planning time for teachers.
“Teachers will be working on Sept. 18 and students will be off that day (no live instruction),” she wrote in the email.
Mackey presented two options for next school year’s calendar and both are pre-Labor Day starts. A difference between the two are the spring break closures and last days of school.
The first day for option one is Aug. 30, 2021. It also features a three-day holiday break for Thanksgiving starting Nov. 24, 2021, a seven-day winter break starting Dec. 23 and a full week of spring break from April 15 to 22, 2022.
The last day would be June 9, 2022, for students and June 10, 2022, for teachers if no inclement weather days are used.
Option two has the same start date for students next school year and the same Thanksgiving and winter breaks. Spring break would end on April 19, 2022, instead of April 22 of that year, and the last day would be June 6, 2022, for students and seven days later for teachers.
“I know I’m in the minority on this so I’m not going to push this too hard, but I am a big advocate for a pre-Labor Day start,” board member David Hancock said, adding that the extended summer helps the economy and could help the state raise funds for education.
The Charles board did not yet vote on the calendar options.
Calvert public schools’ reopen date still unknown, Curry says
Calvert public schools’ Superintendent Daniel D. Curry said during a virtual state of the county event hosted by the chamber of commerce the next phase for students, who returned to school virtually on Sept 2, is a hybrid model. It will result in half of students attending class for four days one week and then taking six weekdays off while the other half of students attend school four days the following week.
Curry said the district has “no hard date” yet for the implementation of the hybrid schedule.
He noted that, with social distancing requirements, a 72-passenger school bus can only have 12 students and a typical classroom can have only 15 students.
Curry gave an example of one problem scenario that could develop again in the future. During summer school, which was broader this year than normal, one student was sent to school for three days, but didn’t yet have a result after taking a COVID-19 test. When the result came back positive, all of the children who rode the bus and were in the same class as the student, along with the staff, had to quarantine for two weeks. Curry said the student should have been kept at home until the test result was received.
Staff writer Caleb M. Soptelean contributed to this story. Twitter: @KristenSoMdNews