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First day of school means big changes for students this year

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Posted at 7:40 AM, Sep 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-05 10:22:59-04

Students received a bit of a gift this year - an extra week of summer vacation!

Across the state kids started school on Tuesday for the first time in two decades. This comes from a new state mandate ordered by Governor Larry Hogan, requiring students to start the day after Labor Day. 

Every school district started on Tuesday, except for Garrett and Allegany County, who both started before the holiday.

And while some students may be happy with an extra week of summer, there are mixed reactions on the new start date.

Some families were excited for extra vacation days and more days of summer. Others were concerned about affording extra child care and food for those extra days, and the effect more days out of the classroom would have on kids academically.

PHOTOS: Celebrations and special visitors for the first day of school

And a different start date is not the only change for students this year. 

The new school year means new facilities for thousands of students and teachers in Baltimore County and Baltimore City.

In the county, 20 schools will open with air conditioning in classrooms for the first time, leaving 13 schools without it. 

A new school is also added to the county, Relay Elementary in Halthorpe is opening its doors Tuesday. Two other schools will open in a year, and several other are being renovated or will be rebuilt. 

In Baltimore City, two new schools are opening as part of an initiative to replace aging schools. The 21st Century Schools Program has opened Frederick Elementary in Southwest Baltimore, and Fort Worthington Elementary in Middle East Baltimore. 

RELATED: Fort Worthington School in East Baltimore has ribbon cutting

Frederick Elementary is the second school to reopen with the 21st century schools program here in the city. Last month Fort Worthington kicked off the reopening.

Together it took 67 million dollars to update the two schools. There are more than 20 city schools on the list for renovations.

The last big change for students is the first true test of the new Baltimore-Link Bus System. This is the first time students will be using it to get to school, and officials say transit employees will cover the city, helping students get to class on time.

The goal of the new system is efficiency, giving kids a shorter more direct commute to school.