Some pupils get off early BALTIMORE COUNTY

April 06, 1993|By Mary Maushard | Mary Maushard,Staff Writer

Attendance in Baltimore County schools was below normal yesterday, but still above 80 percent in most schools.

A sampling of schools showed 80 percent to 85 percent of elementary and secondary students were in school on what was to have been their first day of spring break, said Richard Bavaria, county schools spokesman.

Elementary schools usually have about 95 percent attendance and secondary schools 93 percent, he said.

"Usually, we get worried when it goes below 90 percent, but we understand. We did OK," he said.

Likewise, more teachers than usual were out, but apparently not in great numbers. Dr. Bavaria said his unofficial survey showed from two to 11 teachers absent in each of the schools he contacted.

Yesterday and today were originally part of spring break, but also were labeled as possible makeup days on this year's calendar. Because of the March blizzard and other calendar problems, the break was cut short. It will begin after school today and continue through Monday.

Because many teachers and families had made, and paid for,

vacation plans before the calendar was changed, principals were allowed to grant teachers liberal use of their personal leave days. Similarly, any absences approved by parents will be considered "excused absences" for students.

Absenteeism for both students and parents is expected to be higher today, because of Passover, the Jewish holiday that began last evening.

"I had six [teachers] out today; 10 will be out tomorrow," said Faith Hermann, principal at Catonsville Middle School. Her HTC staffing was complicated by a death in one teacher's family and by a serious illness in a substitute teacher's family. "I taught seventh-grade math and eighth-grade math," she said.

Ms. Hermann said 88 percent of Catonsville's students were in school. Normally, attendance there ranges from 94 percent to 98 percent.

At Towson High School, 12 teachers -- or 16 percent of the faculty -- were absent, but seven of them were accompanying 100 students on study trips to France, Spain and Austria, said Principal Louis Sergi, who did not have final attendance figures.

Many schools did not schedule tests this week, so as not to unduly penalize absent students.

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