Pinellas County public schools were a little emptier on Friday, as parents had the option of excusing their children from classes to observe Good Friday.
The number of students absent was unavailable late Friday afternoon, but spokeswoman Andrea Zahn said the district usually sees higher absentee rates when the religious observance doesn't fall during spring break, which this year was March 28 to April 1.
In 2009, the last time Good Friday was a school day, 18,555 of the district's approximately 100,000 students were absent, Zahn said.
Next year, Good Friday will again fall on a school day, on April 6, 2012. Spring break is scheduled for March 26-30.
Students are allowed to miss school on Good Friday or 11 other special observance days approved by the School Board, as long as parents or guardians notify the school in writing at least three days in advance.
Other special observance days include Passover, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
Under the policy, no testing of any kind or major reviews are allowed to take place during a special observance day.
As for teachers, 703 were not at work Friday, which is more than a typical Friday, when 550 to 575 teachers are absent, Zahn said.
Students across the bay in Hillsborough County, meanwhile, had no classes on Good Friday.