For the second time in two weeks, the Beaufort County School District has announced another change to the Saturday makeup days designated to recoup two days of lost seat time from Tropical Storm Irma.
District spokesman Jim Foster confirmed Dec. 9 is now off the table because several schools have ACT testing scheduled for that day. Saturday, Dec. 16, will replace Dec. 9.
Asked why the first December date was announced without consulting a calendar of testing schedules, the district did not have an immediate answer.
Beaufort County School District is the only district of the state’s 20 largest to rely entirely on Saturdays in the case of inclement weather, according to a review of 2017-18 academic calendars. The 19 other districts identified only weekdays as back-up dates.
The district’s calendar, approved by the Beaufort County Board of Education last spring, designated only Saturdays as the potential makeup days for the first time since the 2013-14 school year. The board originally selected Nov. 11 and Nov. 18 as the first two makeup days.
At a Sept. 19 board meeting, Superintendent Jeff Moss said school would not be held Nov. 11 because it falls on Veterans Day and also on the Heritage Days Celebration on St. Helena Island. Moss then designated Nov. 18 and Dec. 9 as the makeup days, noting attendance would be low on those days.
“My guess for Saturdays is high absenteeism,” Moss said.
This isn’t the first time the Beaufort County School District has moved makeup days around multiple times.
Last fall, after Hurricane Matthew and Tropical Storm Hermine shaved nine instructional days off the calendar, three makeup plans were announced to the community.
First, the district, without requisite board approval, announced a plan to cut into part of winter break. Then, the board voted on a different plan, one that would have pushed first semester into January. Soon after that plan was announced, some board members changed their minds, and the board held an emergency meeting to rescind their decision and re-vote.
It was the third weather makeup plan announced to the community in the span of about two weeks, which left many families’ winter break plans in flux.