Who doesn’t remember the euphoria of realizing that another day behind the desk had just been traded for a day filled with sleigh riding and hot chocolate? Snow days are the best of what winter has to offer here in the Mid-Atlantic – until we grew older and had kids of our own. The collective groan you heard last week was parents complaining about having to find more ways to occupy their children while the teachers and buses remained silent.
So far this year, we’ve used 6 out of our allotted 4 days. The rumor mill has been circulating that because O’Malley called a State of Emergency last week that our children wouldn’t have to make up the days. This isn’t accurate.
According to the Baltimore Sun:
Once the winter of 2014 is truly over and there’s no chance of a school’s closing because of bad weather, school districts can ask the Maryland State Board of Education to give them a waiver to the law.
State superintendents can extend waivers when the governor declares a state of emergency, which Gov. Martin O’Malley did ahead of Thursday’s expected snow.
But those waivers have been granted only rarely in the past.
What do they mean by rarely? “In 1996 after the blizzard, a divided school board reluctantly granted the waiver to every district.” And after the major snowstorm in 2003, the board gave the authority to hand out waivers but not every district received them. In 2010, they gave waivers for up to 5 days.
From the Anne Arundel County Public School Facebook Page, here’s the criteria that must be satisfied to grant the waiver:
The Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) lays out two criteria that must be satisfied before a waiver can be granted. They are:
1. The school system demonstrates they have made sufficient effort in providing instruction through calendar planning and modifications; and
2. Natural or civil disasters or severe weather conditions are sufficiently significant to warrant a waiver of days.
There is no word on whether Anne Arundel County plans on asking for a waiver for their -2 days or if they plan on taking away some of the scheduled off days in the future. Worse case is our kids will be going to school until June 19th. Given how cold and snowy this winter has been, that might not necessarily be a bad thing – more pool time for the parents.