DCPS seeks public input on 2020 school start date

The Dorchester County Board of Education, in partnership with the Dorchester Chamber of Commerce and the interim superintendent of schools, is seeking public input on whether the 2020-2021 school year should start before or after Labor Day.

CAMBRIDGE — The Dorchester County Board of Education is seeking public input on whether the 2020-2021 school year should start before or after Labor Day.

Labor Day 2020 is on Monday, Sept. 7. If school starts before Labor Day, it will begin on Monday, Aug. 31. If the post-Labor Day option is chosen, school will open on Tuesday, Sept. 8.

The school board is welcoming input from all Dorchester County residents, including parents, students, businesses, teachers, churches and “anyone [who] lives or is invested in the County,” according to a DCPS press release.

The board, in partnership with the Dorchester Chamber of Commerce and the interim superintendent of schools, is looking for specific examples of positive or negative impacts on residents for both start date options.

Once received, DCPS will carefully evaluate all responses and make a decision based on that evaluation — as it has done in past years per Gov. Larry Hogan’s executive order stating that qualifying schools may choose their start date.

The executive order, announced by Hogan and Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot in 2016, requires all public schools in Maryland to begin classes after Labor Day and end by June 15 each year — unless an individual school system applies for and receives a post-Labor Day start requirement waiver based on a compelling justification. Schools systems must apply for this waiver annually.

DCPS has outlined the details of each 2020 start date and their scheduling implications as follows:

School begins on Sept. 8, 2020, the day after Labor Day:

• No Parent Teacher Conference Day is included

• Winter Break begins on December 23, 2020

• Spring Break is two (2) days long

• Zero (0) inclement weather days included in calendar

• Last day for students will be June 11, 2021 (please note that all inclement weather days will be added to the end of the school year going into the week of June 14)

School begins on Aug. 31, 2020, one week before Labor Day:

• One (1) Parent Teacher Day is included

• Winter Break begins on December 21, 2020

• Spring Break is three (3) days long

• Three (3) inclement weather days included in calendar

• Last day for students will be June 10, 2021 (if no inclement weather days are used)

Two independent polls, conducted by Goucher College, found that 71 percent of Marylanders support a post-Labor Day start.

The Bureau of Revenue Estimates has said starting the school year after Labor Day could provide $74.3 million in direct economic activity, $3.7 million in new wages, and $7.7 million in state and local tax revenues as a result of increased family vacation time.

Dorchester residents may submit 2020 start-date input via phone, email, fax or mail before 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 15.

To comment via email, contact the school board’s Nancy Harrington at harringtonn@dcpsmd.org — or Dorchester Chamber of Commerce President Bill Christopher at Bill@dorchesterchamber.org.

Phone calls can be placed to the school board at 410-228-4747 Ext. 1015 — or to the Dorchester Chamber of Commerce at 410-228-3575. Written comments can be dropped at the Chamber Office at 528 Poplar Street, Cambridge. Comments can be faxed to the Chamber Office at 410-228-6848.

Additionally, Dorchester residents can submit comments via Facebook or Instagram message to the Chamber @DorchesterChamberofCommerce.

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