1. News
  2. /
  3. Gradebook

Will schools have kids make up the lost hurricane day during Thanksgiving break?

It’s possible, but not likely, officials say.
Hurricane Dorian is now rapping Florida with tropical storm-force winds. [National Hurricane Center]
Hurricane Dorian is now rapping Florida with tropical storm-force winds. [National Hurricane Center]
Published Sep. 3

Area school districts’ student calendars made it perfectly clear.

If classes get canceled because of hurricanes, the makeup days are set. And they’re plopped right in the week off for Thanksgiving.

Will districts actually stick to those dates? That’s another story.

First off, officials said, they need to wait until the threat of Hurricane Dorian has passed. Then, they’ll likely ask the Florida Department of Education to waive the hours missed — something the department has routinely offered for a day or two, though not much longer.

Gov. Ron DeSantis did declare a state of emergency for all 67 counties, after all, an action that could help make the case.

If the waiver is approved, nothing else needs to happen.

But if not — say the department doesn’t see making preparations for a storm that never arrived as sufficient rationale — then the next set of discussions would have to take place.

Administrators and school board members could look into readjusting their existing school days. They could extend classes by a few minutes to make up for the missed few hours of instruction.

That’s what they did after Hurricane Irma two years ago.

Or they could take advantage of their early release days and simply cancel those to recapture the time. At least one local teachers union has mentioned the possibility of giving up some planning time to avoid having to attend one day of the Thanksgiving week, which most likely would be poorly attended.

Pinellas County schools spokeswoman Lisa Wolf-Chason said her district leadership will consider the options once it’s clear how many days have been missed.

If it’s just the one missed day, Pasco County schools spokeswoman Linda Cobbe said, the solution will be easier than if another hurricane day occurs. More time off could lead to fixes that are felt more, such as full makeup days.


  1. Pasco School District headquarters in Land O' Lakes
    The sides have not set a new date for negotiations.
  2. Tony Pirotta, right, meets with his Armwood High Ought to be a Law student club and state Rep. Susan Valdes to talk strategy for the group's latest legislative proposal. They presented their bill to state senators on Dec. 9. [JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff Writer]
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  3. Florida's Baker Act was written in 1971 by Maxine Baker, a 65-year-old grandmother and a freshman Florida legislator from Miami-Dade County, seen here in a 1965 photo. [Associated Press]
    The law was written in 1971 by Maxine Baker, then a freshman legislator from Miami-Dade County who pushed for the rights of people with mental illness.
  4. Sarah Henderson with her son, Braden, who was committed under the Baker Act after a joking remark at school. [JOHN PENDYGRAFT  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    A cop car comes. A child is handcuffed and taken to a mental health facility. The scene is all too frequent at public schools across the state.
  5. Three Armwood High School students testify before the Senate Education Committee on Dec. 9, 2019. Left to right are seniors Maria Medina, Haley Manigold and Madison Harvey. [Emily L. Mahoney | Times]
    “The people who are cynics about politics are also the ones who complain the most,” said one student, who said democracy requires participation.
  6. Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island.
    The idea is part of Florida leaders’ pitch to address low teacher pay, though there is still disagreement over how to do so.
  7. The government program provides free lunches in schools that qualify, regardless of a student's family income. The idea is to erase a stigma.
    One manager lost her job, accused of taking advantage of the program she oversaw.
  8. Sally Henderson, a Hillsborough County teacher, is one of the few Florida educators to earn National Board certification since 2015.
    The state still has more teachers in the program than all states except North Carolina.
  9. Staci Plonsky holds art from son A.J., who has autism, that depicts his memory of being taken by the school resource officer to a mental health facility under Florida's Baker Act law. [JOHN PENDYGRAFT  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  10. Chanell Newell, a reading teacher at Woodson K-8 School, is a finalist for Hillsborough Teacher of the Year. [HCPS  |  HCPS]
    The winners will be announced on Jan. 23.