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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, 2019

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.

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