FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Storms like Hurricane Irma create a scheduling problem for local schools. From canceled classes on Monday to delays on Tuesday after the storm, local students were forced to miss instruction time.
Districts build in make-up days for full days that are missed. The WMBF Investigates team reached out to every local school district that operated on a two-hour delay Tuesday, and found districts handle the late start in different ways.
Florence County School District 5
Students attend every class scheduled, but they're all shorter than a normal day.
"Every effort is made so that the two-hour delay does not impact instruction," said superintendent Randy Smiley. "School administrators have an established protocol they follow when it is necessary to have a delay. We try to avoid delays if at all possible."
Smiley said the delay was called for Tuesday because the district wanted to make sure bus drivers could see the roads in case of fallen trees or power lines.
Florence County School District 2
Shared teachers between middle and high school students create a scheduling conflict.
"For the high school, they typically resume classes where they are on regular schedule," said superintendent Neal Vincent. "They do this to minimize confusion with dual credit classes and career and technology courses offered off site."
He said the school is looking for ways to make-up time missed for Tuesday morning's classes.
Hannah-Pamplico Elementary/Middle students start their day at 10 a.m.
"If we have additional days throughout the year that require delays, they build abbreviated period schedules," Vincent said. "It's difficult for them to run abbreviated period schedules because of sharing teachers at multiple levels and with the high school."
Vincent said the high school lunch schedule does not change. The elementary/middle school still runs both breakfast and lunch. Vincent says that happens on a tight schedule, a difficult process with ten grades in one building.
Marion County School District
School administrators handle delay scheduling.
A spokeswoman for the district said one high school canceled the first block of classes Tuesday. There is extra time built into the normal daily schedule to accommodate emergencies like this.
The spokeswoman said a middle school in the district handled the day differently, dropping all electives and only holding English-language arts, math, science and social studies course. The classes were five to ten minutes shorter than usual.
The lunch schedule remains close to a normal day.
Bus riders delayed
Jim Wright, the director of transportation for Horry County Schools, says it's much more cut and dry for his bus drivers. A two-hour delay for students is a two-hour delay for drivers. The scheduled routes are simply shifted to accommodate the new start time.