ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Maryland public school leaders are scrambling to follow a new executive order to start schools after Labor Day.
Governor Larry Hogan made the announcement on Wednesday, forcing Maryland schools to adjust their calendars.
“It’s a double-ended squeeze for us. It pushes the start of school to Labor Day, but then imposes that June 15 end date, which is a real surprise for us,” said Bob Mosier, spokesperson for Anne Arundel County Schools.
“Our work is well underway, and now to have to change course will be difficult,” said John White, Howard County Schools spokesman.
Districts now have to find a way to squeeze 180 instructional days into a shorter time frame.
“We’ll have to look at can we take time off at spring break, days like the Friday after Thanksgiving,” said Alison Perkins-Cohen, Baltimore City Schools spokeswoman.
“Our school system, like many school systems, also added cultural observances to our calendar that our community asked for. So, we are going to give those types of things back?” said White.
“Certainly reduces the flexibility we have to deal with things like inclement weather,” said Mosier.
The mandate has generated concern about how it could hurt students.
“Lots of research that shows one of the struggles for our students who don’t have access to enrichment activities in the summer is that they lose ground in the summer,” said Perkins-Cohen.
The new law is creating challenges for public schools, who expect an intense battle ahead.
“I think the glee that a lot of parents and teachers and others showed yesterday for many may turn to anger when they see some of the harsh decisions that are going to have to be made,” said Mosier.
Districts are also worried the change could negatively impact standardized test scores, giving students less time to prepare with a later start date.