Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) has announced that the 2020-2021 school year will begin on Sept. 8 for students next school year.
The calendar passed with the following amendments: Spring Break will be a full 10 days, starting the end of the school day on March 26, 2021, and the school year will end on Friday, June 18, 2021. If the school system has exceeded its allotted inclement weather days, Easter Monday and President’s Day will be used for student make-up days, contingent on state approval.
Whether the school calendar would begin pre-or-post-Labor Day became a contentious issue for some county residents after Republican Gov. Larry Hogan signed an executive order in 2016 that mandated a statewide post-Labor Day beginning for all districts’ school years. Hogan’s order was later reversed by the Maryland General Assembly who put the decision back into the hands of local school boards.
Since BCPS students are required to attend 180 school days, balancing various needs on the calendar is a challenge for school staff who have to consider required student school days, staff development days, two lengthy school breaks, various holidays, and possible missed days due to inclement weather.
BCPS staff are only required to construct one calendar for approval, but created three options this year so that the school board and community could decide. The school board requested community input last month. Members of the board said the support was split between a pre-Labor Day start and the option approved during Tuesday’s board meeting.
According to BCPS staff, only 11 Maryland school districts have opted for a pre-Labor Day start date for next school year.