Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Education

Tuesday update: All school districts in Tampa Bay reopen Monday; make-up days in flux

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Here is the very latest on when Tampa Bay area schools plan to reopen post-Irma, and how they intend to schedule make-up days:

Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties are all planning to restart classes on Monday, Sept. 18.

Hillsborough, the area's largest school district with about 200,000 students, was the last district to make the call, saying Tuesday that more than 100 schools were still without power.

Pinellas announced earlier in the day that it would have the rest of the week off, and Pasco and Hernando officials made the same call on Monday.

RELATED: Irma's gone. Why isn't my child going back to school this week?

Besides power outages, districts also were dealing with issue of shelters. Public schools are backbone of the shelter system, but when the storm passes, it isn't always easy to turn shelters back into classrooms.

There is also the issue of make-up days. Local school districts were still sorting through the possibilities.

Pasco school superintendent Kurt Browning says he anticipates needing to make up the days, but doesn't know exactly when. He noted the district has two makeup days scheduled in November, and might look at Thanksgiving week as a place to make up the time. But he added that he wants to wait to see if the state will waive requirements regarding instructional hours, as it has in past storms.

In Hillsborough, officials are calculating how many minutes will need to be made up and what adjustments they might have to make to the schedule.

In the past, when school was closed for weather events, Hillsborough did not have to add any days to the calendar because its schools are open for far more minutes than the state requires.

Almost a year ago to this day, Hillsborough was able to avoid adding extra days to the calendar to make up for the two it missed for Hurricane Hermine by showing that it was still providing far more hours of instruction than the 720 yearly hours required for grades K-3 and the 900 hours for grades 4-12.

But Irma, which will have closed the schools for seven full days, is likely to be different.

In Pinellas County, district spokeswoman said: "We are working with the Florida Department of Education to determine the number of days that will need to be made up due to Hurricane Irma. A final decision regarding make-up days will be made soon and communicated to all employees and families."

Stay with tampabay.com for updates.

Times Staff Writers, Megan Reeves, Marlene Sokol, Jeffrey S. Solochek and Colleen Wright contributed to this report.

 

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