Ocean City High School students will graduate on June 20, one day later than previously planned, due to the need to make up snow days.
June 20 will be the last day for all students throughout the district, and students’ spring break will be cut one day short.
The Ocean City Board of Education voted 6-1 Wednesday night to add one day to the school year and make up a day during spring break during its meeting at the high school.
Students will attend school April 21, the day after Easter Sunday. There will be a two-hour delayed opening, and any student unable to attend school because they will be travelling will be granted an excused absence for the day.
Graduation Day will be a Friday.
Students must attend school 180 days, and five days have been cancelled this year because of the high number of snow storms that hit the region this winter.
This change allows the schools to make up the lost days of March 3 and March 17.
The principals in the district conducted an informal survey of their staffs to see who would be available on April 21, and 85 percent responded they could work, according to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kathleen Taylor.
Some parents and staff in the district are concerned about graduating on a Friday because a lot is happening in Ocean City late in June, including businesses opening for the season and the arrival of tourists for the season.
Other options were considered, Taylor said. The district considered the possibility of making up one of the days on a Saturday.
“The only day available was May 31,” Taylor said, referring to multiple school-related activities on the weekends. “ … We asked the state if we could have graduation on June 20 and the last day on June 23 and they said absolutely not. Graduation must be the last day of school.”
Going to school on April 21 benefits Advanced Placement teachers as they prepare their classes for the AP exams in early May.
“I understand parents made plans around Easter and they anticipated being off, but graduation is the most important day of a student’s educational career,” Taylor said. “I’d be sad to see someone miss their graduation because they already made plans for vacation.”