Arundel schools get waiver for storm days

State officials excuse as many as four days

February 08, 2000|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,SUN STAFF

Anne Arundel County students and teachers have received a gift of time from the state schools superintendent -- up to four days' worth of relief for their snow-blown calendar.

The decision by Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick allows the county to cut up to four days from the 180 mandated by the state for public school attendance each year.

The change restores to Anne Arundel schools the Feb. 21 Presidents Day holiday and the April 20 spring vacation day. And barring more bad weather, students' last day of school could come June 12 -- a day earlier than scheduled.

For teachers, the last day of work will go unchanged: June 14.

The state school board gave Grasmick the authority last week to waive up to four days from the required 180 -- days that schools were closed and the governor had declared a state of emergency.

Covered by the decision were Anne Arundel's closing of schools Sept. 16 and 17 because of Hurricane Floyd, and Jan. 25 and 26 because of the surprise nor'easter snowstorm.

The county had built four bad-weather days into the 1999-2000 school calendar, but has lost seven days so far -- four of which have been forgiven by Grasmick. Her approval of the four-day waiver means that one emergency closing day remains.

But the school system has to weather more than a month of winter, and if schools are forced to close more than one day, county schools Superintendent Carol S. Parham said, days may be added to the end of the school year.

"We recognize that decisions to close or delay opening schools may inconvenience students, parents and staff," Parham said in a statement. "However, we have tried to address the needs of the entire community and to make decisions based on the safety of students and staff."

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