DARLINGTON, S.C. -- As a result of Hurricane Matthew, Darlington County School District students missed seven student days. Believing that students benefit from as much time in the classroom as possible, the district announced plans today to make up six of the seven missed student days. The Darlington County Board of Education is expected to forgive the seventh day.
“We believe it is important for our students to make up the missed school days,” said Connell Delaine, chairman of the Darlington County Board of Education. “Our children deserve every possible opportunity to learn. We are committed to giving our students a world-class education.”
Changing the designated inclement weather days (Feb. 20, Mar. 17 and May 12) into regular school days will make up three of the missed days. Three more student days will be made up by changing Nov. 7, Feb. 10 and May 29 into regular student days. Attendance will be taken and classes will continue as normal on these days. The Board will likely forgive the seventh missed student day at their November board meeting. The spring Parent-Teacher conferences will be rescheduled.
Teachers are still required to have 10 days of professional development. Plans for making up the lost professional development time will be announced within the next few weeks.
State law requires districts to make up the first three days. Local school districts have the ability to forgive three additional missed student days. Missed days beyond that can only be waived by the State Board of Education or, in some cases, legislative action.
A common misconception is that schools do not have to make up missed days if the governor declares a State of Emergency. A State of Emergency is actually a designation that allows the governor, as well as state and local officials, to access resources they might need in dealing with the crisis. A State of Emergency does not impact school make-up days. State law also requires that schools close on general election days of even years. As a result, Nov. 8 cannot be used as a make-up day.
By using the six days chosen, the school year is not extended and graduation will not change. However, it is important to note that winter may bring additional bad weather. If students miss more days due to inclement weather, the Board may consider adding those missed days to the end of the school year.