The Beaufort County School District will close schools Thursday due to the potential impacts from Hurricane Michael, officials announced Wednesday.
“District schools will be closed on Thursday due to predictions of high winds, including the threat of tornadoes, that could produce falling limbs, power outages and conditions that would make bus operations unsafe,” district spokesperson Jim Foster wrote in a news release.
Extracurricular activities and sporting events are also canceled Wednesday and Thursday.
District officials are continuing to monitor the storm and plan to make a decision whether schools will reopen Friday no later than 2 p.m. Thursday, according to the release.
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Thursday will mark the fifth day so far during the 2018-19 school year that the district has closed school due to storms. In early September, the district canceled school for four days after an evacuation order was issued for Hurricane Florence.
Hurricane Michael is expected to make landfall on the Florida Panhandle Wednesday afternoon as a Category 4 storm with 145 mph sustained winds as of 11 a.m.
The Lowcountry, including Beaufort County, is under a tropical storm warning and should expect to see tropical storm force gusts of up to 40 mph through Friday.
Under South Carolina law, each school district must build three makeup days into their calenders. For Beaufort County, those days are Nov. 21, June 3 and June 4.
Local school boards then have the option to waive an additional three days when schools are closed due to snow, extreme weather conditions or other disruptions.
The district has not made a decision on when or how the missed days will be made up, but a recommendation will be presented at the next board meeting on October 16.
At a board meeting on October 2, Interim Superintendent Herb Berg assured board members that the district would use Nov. 21 as one of the make up days.
Berg also said that holding school on Saturdays was not an option the district was considering.
Jasper County School District, John Paul II Catholic School in Ridgeland and the University of South Carolina Beaufort also canceled school on Thursday.