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(Enlarge) A sign in an alley off of Courtland Street in Bel Air warns passersby. (Nicole Munchel | Aegis staff)

As a result of numerous school closures from snow and icy conditions in 2011, Harford County Public Schools has already extended the school year for students by four days to June 17.

Additional school closures could push the date back even farther.

The recent inclement weather has also extended to Friday the window for teachers to report second quarter grades, and the distribution of report cards at all grade levels to Feb. 11.

With another snow day Tuesday because of declining weather conditions, public school students have missed six days this school year because of inclement weather. More icy conditions were forecast for Tuesday evening into this morning (Wednesday). (Please see related story on this page.)

Harford’s school calendar has six inclement weather make-up days built into the schedule, all of which have been used.

Students will attend school on April 1, May 20 and June 14 through 17 — days the students originally were originally scheduled to be off.

There is a possibility schools will be closed again today (Wednesday) because of inclement weather, bringing the total snow day count to seven.

“As we did last year, if we use additional inclement weather days over and above what we have included in the calendar, we would have to find places to make days up or submit a waiver to MSDE [the Maryland State Department of Education,]” Teri Kranefeld, manager of communications, wrote in an e-mail Monday.

Inclement weather has also forced the school system to delay schools three times and close early once, according to Kranefeld.

Last week, students had scheduled days off on Jan. 24 and 25 for teacher staff development days.

When Mother Nature dumped nearly a foot of snow on the county last Wednesday, schools were closed the remainder of the week.

On Friday, schools were on a Code Blue, which means schools were closed for students and teachers and all evening activities were canceled, but all school offices and school system central offices were scheduled to open on time.

‘Special circumstance’

School sports teams, according to Kranefeld, are not allowed to practice on inclement weather days; however, that did not stop Harford Technical High School’s wrestling team from entering the school building Friday to set up mats for its Saturday tournament.

“This was a special circumstance where the coaches and team sought approval to be able to set up for this meet as it was attracting teams from across the state and it started early on Saturday morning,” Kranefeld wrote. “Permission was granted for meet set-up. Practices are not allowed to be held on inclement weather days.”

The wrestling team, with the assistance of their coaches, were in Harford Technical Friday and voluntarily set up the mats for their match on Saturday.

The match was a two-day tournament reduced to one day because of the snow, according to Kranefeld.

“The mat process takes several hours,” Kranefeld wrote. “As our buildings were open on a Code Blue, the wrestling team was allowed to enter the building to prepare for their match which was slated to begin at 8 a.m. Saturday morning with teams coming from all over the state.”

No policy

The school system does not have a policy when it comes to the use of school buildings on inclement weather days, Kranefeld wrote.

While the Harford Technical wrestling match was held Saturday, the all-county orchestra practice at North Harford High School scheduled for the past weekend was canceled because of a logistical problem.

“The All-County Orchestra Concert included guest conductors that were traveling from out-of-state to participate in the performance,” Kranefeld wrote. “In addition, many of the necessary preparations could not take place during the week including, program printing, performance rehearsals, stage set-up, etc.”


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