Ho­gan man­dates post-La­bor Day school start

Sets up showdown with Gen­eral Assem­bly



— Sum­mer is about to get a lit­tle bit longer for Ce­cil County stu­dents if the gov­er­nor has his way.

On Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon, Gov. Larry Ho­gan is­sued an ex­ec­u­tive or­der man­dat­ing that start­ing next school year, all school dis­tricts in Mary­land must start school af­ter La­bor Day and end


school be­fore June 15.

School sys­tems must still be in ses­sion for 180 days as re­quired by law but can ap­ply to the Mary­land State Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion for a waiver to start school ear­lier if they have “com­pelling jus­ti­fi­ca­tion.”

“Start­ing Mary­land public schools af­ter La­bor Day is not just a fam­ily is­sue — it’s an eco­nomic and public safety is­sue that draws clear, strong, bi­par­ti­san sup­port among an over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity of Mary­lan­ders,” Ho­gan said dur­ing a press con­fer­ence in Ocean City. “Comptroller Fran­chot and I be­lieve, and the peo­ple of Mary­land strongly agree, that this Ex­ec­u­tive Or­der puts the best in­ter­ests of Mary­lan­ders first, es­pe­cially the well-be­ing of our stu­dents. This ac­tion is long over­due, and it is sim­ply the right thing to do.”

While the gov­er­nor and comptroller may be on board with the plan, the Mary­land Gen­eral Assem­bly his­tor­i­cally hasn’t, deny­ing leg­is­la­tion to ac­com­plish the goal

pre-school at Gilpin Manor Ele­men­tary School.

Mean­while, Damien’s fa­ther, Steve Ad­kins Jr., said he was ex­cited to see his son go off to school and even drove all the way from Car­roll County to be there for the first day. Damien was ini­tially ex­cited about go­ing to school for the first time, Steve said, but once it was time for him to leave his fam­ily he got more hes­i­tant.

Just min­utes af­ter Damien first en­tered the school, he popped back out to get one last hug from his dad and grand­par­ents.

“He talks a big game, but once he got here, he kind of clammed up,” Steve said with a laugh.

Tim and Lilly Blackburn had far fewer tears when they dropped off their daugh­ter at pre-K. Their daugh­ter had at­tended preschool at Gilpin Manor, mak­ing the first day of pre-K must eas­ier, Tim said.

“She kind of feels like she’s a pro at this point,” he said.

Mean­while, at Elk Neck Ele­men­tary School, first day of school drop-off was also a bit­ter­sweet ex­pe­ri­ence for the stu­dents and their fam­i­lies.

Lau­ren Hous­ton, who was drop­ping off her son Luke, 4, for his first day of pre-K, said the mo­ment was more emo­tional than she first thought it would be.

“He’s a big kid now,” she said. “I didn’t think it would be a big deal, but it was.”

Luke has been look­ing for­ward to the first day since Wed­nes­day and Hous­ton said she’s ea­ger to hear how it went.

“It was ex­cit­ing see­ing him all ex­cited,” she said.

Kin­der­garten par­ents also felt ex­cited about their child’s first day.

Me­gan and Rus­sell Hawkins dropped off their daugh­ter, Sum­mer, 5, for her first day of kin­der­garten.

“I’m anx­iously ex­cited,” Me­gan said. “She’s my first go­ing to school. This is the first and last time I’ll ex­pe­ri­ence this, so it is bit­ter­sweet.”

Al­though, she may have felt anx­ious, there wasn’t much sep­a­ra­tion anx­i­ety be­cause Sum­mer at­tended pre-K at the school last year. Par­ents brave the rain to drop their kids off for the first day of school at Gilpin Manor Ele­men­tary School.

Sum­mer said she’s ex­cited about ev­ery­thing, but in par­tic­u­lar the bus rides. “A lot of friends will be on there,” she noted. Melinda Blailock said her son, Noah, 5, is start­ing his first day of kin­der­garten.

She said she’s sad, but ex­cited for him to go to school.

“Of course you want to keep your kids close,” Blailock said. “He’ll come home with a lot of sto­ries.”

But the par­ents and chil­dren weren’t the only ones ex­cited about the first day of school.

Elk Neck Ele­men­tary Prin­ci­pal Karen Adair said this is an ex­cit­ing mo­ment for the par­ents, chil­dren and school sys­tem. For many of the par­ents, it’s their first time send­ing them to ei­ther grade, she noted.

“Their ed­u­ca­tion be­gins now. We build the foun­da­tion for learn­ing and their ex­cite­ment for learn­ing,” she said.

Teacher Meghan Handy said she’s also look­ing for­ward to start­ing the school year.

“We’re ex­cited. They’re all ready to start learn­ing,” she said. “And we know that we’re go­ing to have a great year.”


Lau­ren Hous­ton hugs her son, Luke, 4, be­fore he started his first day of pre-K at Elk Neck Ele­men­tary School on Thurs­day.


Jax, Amanda and Chase Brown­hill and Noah and Melinda Blailock wait for school to start at Elk Neck Ele­men­tary School on Thurs­day.


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