'It's June! Why aren't the schools out yet?'
As we enter June, a number of Lancaster County School District parents have been asking: "Why aren't the schools out yet? Can't the district just decide to end the year now?" It's a good question. Typically schools in Lancaster County will start the school year around the third Monday in August (first day allowed by law) and wrap up the year around this time. But as we all know, this has been far from a traditional school year. Last August - as most of the state and country were deep in the throes of COVID-19 - Lancaster County School District delayed the start of the year to give more time to adequately prep for what a school year under COVID mandates from the state would look like. That several weeks' delay has pushed the end of school into later in June. The number of days required in the school year is mandated by state law: the school year is to include 180 days. Also, the number of "half days" that can be counted as full days is limited as well. To compound the matter, the state is requiring an additional five school days this year for students in grades kindergarten through eighth grade to help in overcoming the lost instructional time from last Spring. Now why the state did not mandate that for grades 9-12 as well is something I have yet to fully understand. This fact is why K-8 started the school year earlier than high school students. Next year everything should be back to some resemblance of normalcy when it comes to the school calendar year looking a bit more traditional, but the summer of 2021 is going to be a bit shorter, and there's really nothing that can be done about it without the state legislators acting upon it.