Parents, students and teachers alike were notified shortly before 3 p.m. Friday that Saturday would, indeed, be a makeup day for Richmond County Schools. Richmond Early College High School will have a makeup day at a later time.
Classes for students in Richmond County were canceled Wednesday due to about two inches of snow that fell Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. The snowfall quickly turned area roadways into slick sheets of ice. Classes were canceled again for Thursday and, at about 5:03 p.m. Thursday, announced that Friday’s schedule also was canceled “due to continued icy conditions in some areas of the county.”
Mallory Brown, director of public relations for the school system, said officials decided to begin Saturday on a one-hour delay from the start of the normal operating schedule. In addition, there will be a 1 p.m. dismissal.
Breakfast will not be served to students on Saturday but lunch will be served, Brown noted.
Brown indicated district officials were discussing the issue late Friday morning. The conversation included Superintendent George Norris, Associate Superintendent Jeff Maples and Assistant Superintendent Cindy Goodman along with Dennis Quick, executive director for auxiliary services, Corey W. Davis, director of transportation, and transportation staff.
When the announcement was posted on The Daily Journal’s Facebook page, the response was one part critical, one part orderly.
“Dumb,” posted Luann Wilkes. “Who will send kids? Not mine.”
Teresa Marie Thompson said her child is going “because she doesn’t want to miss a day. Education is important, even on a Saturday.”
Student Russell Parker indicated his father said he didn’t have to go but “I’m going so I can talk to my counselor to change a class.”
Some wanted to know if any portion of the students’ scheduled Spring Break, currently April 21 to April 25, would be taken away. That remains to be seen. The classes on Saturday make up, of course, only one of the three missed days. Norris said the board will be asked to approve a calendar change at its public meeting. That meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. at the central office, located at 118 Vance St.
The state Department of Public Instruction requires a minimum of 185 days of instruction or 1,025 hours of instruction, according to the NC Public Schools website, www.ncpublicschools.org. Among the options for school districts when considering makeup days include Saturdays or other days, other than Sundays or holidays other than Veterans Day, that otherwise are not already scheduled as instructional days.
Norris noted students cannot attend class for more than five days in any single week.
State law does not require local boards of education to eliminate instructional days from the school calendar.
In an email response to questions, Norris said the last time Saturday school was needed was “a couple of years ago,” also for snow.