February 24, 2014

Students get pass on makeup days

From Staff Reports

— Students in the Dalton Public Schools system will only have to make up one of the six days they have missed so far due to winter weather, officials said on Monday.

Neither students nor faculty in the Murray County school system will have to make up any of the eight days they missed due to weather, officials there said on Monday. For Whitfield County Schools, no decision has been made on makeup days.

The Georgia Board of Education last week approved allowing local school system officials to decide how to handle the days lost due to weather. That decision allows students to miss up to nine days due to weather without having to make up the instructional time. In the Dalton and Whitfield public school systems, students go to school for 180 days. In Murray County, students go to school 160 days but the school days are longer.

Students in the Dalton system will make up one day on March 14, which was approved at the February school board meeting. The day was built into the calendar as a makeup day in case of any inclement weather, said Pat Holloway, spokeswoman for the school system.

“The weather events this year that caused our students and staff to miss numerous instructional days have been challenging,” said Dalton Superintendent Jim Hawkins in a news release. “We appreciate the state providing the flexibility for local districts to make decisions regarding makeup days. The loss of instructional time is difficult to truly make up when the only adjustments to the school calendar also take away from scheduled holidays or would extend the school year beyond a high school graduation date that’s been established for more than a year.”

According to the release, officials will look at building five makeup days into next year’s school calendar to avoid missing any instructional time.

Staff will have to make up the missed days. In addition to March 14, staff will use Good Friday, Memorial Day and two days at the end of the year as professional learning days, Holloway said. The final day will be left up to each school, she said.

Whitfield County Schools spokesman Eric Beavers said board members must approve any changes to the school calendar. The board meets on Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the central office. There will be a work session at 5:30.

No recommendation has yet been made by Superintendent Judy Gilreath, Beavers said. Students in that system also have missed eight days due to weather so far this year.