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Pasco announces hurricane makeup days, Pinellas will have none

Students missed four days of classes while their schools served as shelters.
Teachers and staff enter St. Petersburg's John Hopkins Middle School before Hurricane Ian. Pinellas County students missed four days of classes as Hopkins and other schools served as evacuation shelters.
Teachers and staff enter St. Petersburg's John Hopkins Middle School before Hurricane Ian. Pinellas County students missed four days of classes as Hopkins and other schools served as evacuation shelters. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Oct. 10, 2022|Updated Oct. 10, 2022

Pasco County students will lose two days off in the second semester and not have any early release days as the school district makes up class time missed because of Hurricane Ian.

Pinellas County students, meanwhile, will not have to make up any time from when the storm closed their schools, officials said.

Both districts canceled classes for four days as the hurricane approached so they could convert campuses into evacuation shelters.

Pinellas district officials thought they might have to reschedule at least one day, School Board vice chairperson Lisa Cane said. But the administration determined in consultation with the state Department of Education that it had enough instructional time built into its calendar that it would not need to add more, even with the missed days.

“It could have been next week,” Cane noted, pointing to the Oct. 17 hurricane makeup day listed on the district calendar.

The Hillsborough school district is using Oct. 17, which was to be a break for students, as an instructional day as part of its makeup plan. It also is converting six early-release days into full days.

Related: Hillsborough schools adjust to make up 2 missed days during Hurricane Ian

The Pasco district is taking a similar approach with its early release days, converting all of them in the second semester to full days. Those are on Jan. 11, Feb. 1, March 8 and April 12.

In addition, Pasco is taking Jan. 3 and Feb. 20 for hurricane makeup. The January date means winter break will end a day early, with teachers moving a planning day to make this work.

The February date is President’s Day, which had been set as a holiday off. District officials said the United School Employees of Pasco agreed to the changes.

The district had dates in the week of Thanksgiving as possible hurricane makeup days.

“It was made clear that parents and staff wanted us to preserve Thanksgiving and winter breaks,” spokesperson Steve Hegarty said. “We’re going to be able to do that.”

However, the district is not able to follow Pinellas County’s lead in avoiding makeup days.

“We don’t have the cushion they have,” superintendent Kurt Browning said.

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Tampa Bay Times Hurricane Ian coverage

HOW TO HELP: Where to donate or volunteer to help Hurricane Ian victims.

FEMA: Floridians hurt by Ian can now apply for FEMA assistance. Here’s how.

THE STORM HAS PASSED: Now what? Safety tips for returning home.

POST-STORM QUESTIONS: After Hurricane Ian, how to get help with fallen trees, food, damaged shelter.

WEATHER EFFECTS: Hurricane Ian was supposed to slam Tampa Bay head on. What happened?

MORE STORM COVERAGE: Get ready and stay informed at tampabay.com/hurricane.