Hurricane Make-up Days

Dear Beaufort County School District parents:

The Board of Education will determine at its November 1 meeting how the school district will make up instructional days lost because of Hurricane Matthew.  The Board is asking parents for their feedback on the various options aimed at making up those lost days.

Important Background Information

Beaufort County School District students have missed nine days during first semester due to weather-related events. 

The first of our nine missed days was due to Tropical Storm Hermine.  To account for that, January 4 was switched to an instructional day and a previously scheduled January 4 teacher workday was switched to November 23.  Hurricane Matthew resulted in eight lost instructional days. 

South Carolina state law says that we cannot begin school earlier than the third Monday in August, which limits the days we can place in our calendar and still end first semester in December.  The first semester built in 85 student days.  We have a legislative requirement at the high school level to have 120 hours of instruction for a student to receive credit.  This requirement forces us to have a minimum of 80 student days (80 days X 90 minutes per class = 7,200 minutes/60=120 hours).  We missed nine days during the first semester, which brought us to 76 days remaining for the semester in our current calendar.  To satisfy the 120-hour requirement, we must restore a minimum of four days prior to ending the first semester.

The challenge is not the missed days because we can make those up with our three previously identified weather days (February 20, May 30-31).  The challenge is making up the 120 hours that high school students need in order to earn course credits.  Below are four options that Superintendent Jeff Moss and the district’s school principals discussed.  The fourth option – the proposal that Dr. Moss agreed to present to the Board of Education on November 1 on behalf of the principals – would add full days on December 19-21 and a half-day on December 22.

The options

The four alternatives are listed below along with potential concerns voiced by educators and parents:

  1. Hold school on four Saturdays, most likely November 12 and 19 and December 3 and 10.  Possible concerns:  Teachers and students working six-day weeks until winter break; teachers who have continuing education commitments on Saturdays; students who have scheduling conflicts or job commitments; bus drivers who have additional work commitments; families who have weekend travel plans, recreational commitments or child custody agreements.
  2. Extend the school day by one hour for 24 days.  For example, schools would add an hour to their schedules from November 7 through December 14.  Possible concerns:  Students who have after-school jobs or athletics and extracurricular commitments; families with scheduling conflicts.
  3. Extend first semester into January.  Students would start back on January 2 instead of January 4, and first semester would end January 11.  Students would not begin taking their final exams or EOC’s until January 5.  January 12 and 13 would become teacher workdays.  Second semester would begin January 17 and end May 31.  June 1, 2, 5 and 6 would become teacher workdays.  High school graduations would be on May 31, June 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6.  Possible concerns:  Students taking important exams after a two-week winter break; students who plan to graduate early and have commitments in early January for college or the military; students who are scheduled to begin new dual-credit college courses in early January; students whose military enlistments begin the last week in May or the first week of June; families who have travel plans or scheduling conflicts the last week of May or first week of June.
  4. Make December 19, 20 and 21 full instructional days and December 22 a half-day, which would shorten winter break from roughly 2½ weeks to 2 weeks.  Possible concerns:  Students who have scheduling conflicts; families who have travel plans or child custody agreements.