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Hurricane Dorian: School district to make up missed days
Posted 9/10/19

Make-up days were built into approved school calendar

 

Superintendent Charles Wilson confirmed on Friday, Sept. 6, that employees and students will make up the two days of school that were missed during Hurricane Dorian.  The make-up days are Monday, Nov. 25 and Tuesday, Nov. 26.  This does shorten the school district’s Thanksgiving break from nine days to five days.  Schools and the Central Office will now be closed Wed., Nov. 27 – Sun., Dec. 1.


These are two of the four make-up days that were built into the 2019-2020 School Calendar. The 2019-2020 School Calendar was approved by the Board of Education at its Jan. 18, 2018 meeting.  The school district built four make-up days (Nov. 25, Nov. 26, April 6, April 7) into the calendar, two for first semester and two for second semester.  


Frequently Asked Questions

 

Why did the school district close school Sept. 4 and Sept. 5?
It is not easy to predict severe weather. Bulloch County Schools seeks the most accurate information available from the National Weather Service, the National Hurricane Center, the Bulloch County Emergency Management Agency, and the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office.  Student safety is always the priority. 

 

Forecasts showed a high probability of tropical storm-force weather. There was the potential for high winds and rain which could affect travel and utility services to our schools. Also there were multiple travel concerns: (1) Once there are sustained wind speeds of 35 miles per hour, it is not safe for school buses to travel; (2). Public safety officials would be unable to fully assess all roadways in the county for damage by the time bus routes and morning commutes would begin at 6 a.m.; and (3) local and area sheriff’s departments had issued curfews which cautioned travel between 12 a.m. to 7 a.m. As a result, it was not safe to put adults and children at risk.

 

Why must these days be made up?
School calendars, student instructional days, and regular school attendance are important to teacher lesson plans and student learning. It is important to protect student instructional time. The school district did not make up days in the past, but with a recent pattern of severe weather, our faculty and administrators made a concerted and intentional effort last year to include predetermined school make-up days in the calendar. This was done from both a values perspective (Instructional days matter) and from a communication perspective (to let people know ahead of time).

 

How was the 2019-2020 School Calendar developed?
Each year the school district uses a calendar committee made up of teachers, principals, and school district personnel to develop calendar options.  The committee began developing the 2019-2020 calendar in June 2017. The committee presented calendar options to all employees for them to vote.  The Board also sought input from parents prior to approving the calendar.

 

Why can’t the days be taken from other school breaks in December, February, or April?
Once the approved school calendar is communicated to parents and the public, families begin to make plans. This is why the school district notified the public about the make-up days when the calendar was released in January 2018. It would not be prudent now to change the make-up days and select alternate dates.

 

Why couldn't these days be made up during fall or spring break in October and April?

When the school district finalized the 2019-2020 School Calendar in 2018, it purposefully built in make-up days that were near the end of each semester so as not to risk a weather event happening after a pre-scheduled make-up day. That is why the days were selected in November and April (Nov. 25 & 26 and April 6 & 7)  Fall break is October 14-18, which is too early in the semester.  Hurricane season extends into November. Two days were selected for first semester and two days for second semester.  April 6 & 7 are the make-up days for second semester, and they would be taken from spring break if needed.

 

Doesn’t state law require a 180-day calendar and allow for up to four severe weather days?
Bulloch County Schools, like more than 90 percent of public school districts in Georgia, is a strategic waivers school system.  A major benefit of this operating structure is more local control and waivers from certain state laws. As a result, the state’s traditional 180-day school calendar and its allotted four grace days, no longer applies. The 2019-2020 School Calendar includes 190 work days for teachers, 240 work days for 12-month employees, and 177 instructional days for students. 

 

Why doesn’t Bulloch County Schools follow Georgia Southern University, Ogeechee Technical College, and other school systems when school closure decisions are made?
All K-12 school systems and post-secondary institutions operate independently and make decisions that are best for the students and families they serve.  Post-secondary institutions have students and employees from counties throughout the state, and they have students who live on their campuses. Their operating decisions and concerns will always be different than ours.  Also, GA Southern had campuses in Chatham County and Liberty County that are nearer the coast and were in mandatory evacuation zones. There was no evacuation order for Bulloch County.