Weather News

Beaufort Co. schools officially closed through Friday for Hurricane Dorian. What’s next?

Beaufort County School District announced Wednesday afternoon that all schools and extracurricular activities would be closed for the rest of the week.

“Once the governor’s evacuation order has been lifted, district officials will inspect all school facilities to ensure that building utilities are fully operational and all hazards have been removed,” district spokesman Jim Foster said in a statement. “After inspections are completed, Superintendent [Frank] Rodriguez will determine when schools will reopen, and that decision will be communicated to you immediately.”

Foster sent an email Thursday afternoon saying schools would remain closed as district officials examined debris and damage Friday, despite Gov. Henry McMaster lifting the mandatory evacuation on Beaufort, Jasper and Colleton Counties Thursday afternoon.

Foster said district officials are unsure what they’ll do for makeup days after the storm for right now.

The school calendar has two weather makeup days built into it — Nov. 11 and 27, the latter the day before Thanksgiving — but Hurricane Dorian will have caused four lost school days by the end of the week.

What it’s done before

The school district’s response to hurricanes has varied widely over the past few years, in part due to mixed messages from the state on evacuations.

Last year, the district was closed for four days during Hurricane Florence. That came after McMaster’s mandatory evacuation order for the area and reversal less than 24 hours later.

Many district staff evacuated before the order was rescinded, and school officials cited that as a reason for keeping schools closed, along with potential flooding and dangerous winds.

Between Hurricanes Florence and Michael, the district had five school days to make up. It made up three, in line with state law, choosing to shorten Thanksgiving and winter breaks.

After Hurricane Matthew in 2016, which cost the district eight school days, the board of education voted 7-4 to push winter break back to Dec. 22, adding four days back to the semester.

Follow more of our reporting on Hurricane Dorian

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