Fall Hurricanes Continue to Impact Schedule

Izzy Rootsey, Staff Writer

As junior Shannon Nadeau began to fill in her calendar upon returning from Winter Break, she suddenly realized she would be looking at a long stretch of school without student holidays. The annual Presidents Day has been made a makeup day for Hurricane Nicole, which caused Brevard Public Schools students to miss two days in early November.

“I think having eight weeks with no student holidays is [stressful] because we don’t get breaks to decompress from all the school work we have been getting,” Nadeau said. “There may be more absences during those eight weeks because people will need a break.”

April 24, a previously scheduled student holiday, also has been designated as a Nicole makeup day. The three days missed for Hurricane Ian were made up during first semester by extending early release Fridays to full days. 

Junior Cole Murray said he felt frustrated by the plan for making up hurricane days for Ian and is glad a different route was taken with Nicole.

“I work at 4 p.m. on Fridays, so getting out of school at 3:30 with a 30 [minute] drive to work [was] difficult,” Murray said.

The school calendar allows enough seat time for both semesters, so students can earn two half-credits.

“We had additional time initially built into the second semester,” Assistant Principal of Curriculum Glenn Webb said. “[Despite] extending [first semester], there are enough minutes left in the second semester.” 

Because West Shore has Power Hour, during which no classes are held, the bell schedule differs from other schools with shorter lunch periods.

“Kids are not earning any seat time toward credits for that time,” Webb said. 

Murray said he would rather lose break days than extend Fridays.

“I see [early release Fridays] as a break at the end of the week,” Murray said. 

Webb said the loss of early release proved to be a challenge for teachers.

“They use that time on Fridays for additional planning and preparation,” he said. 

Making up the hurricane days isn’t as simple as it might seem, as 1,500 minutes of instruction per semester need to be met.

“That’s what we get federal dollars for, and anything over isn’t counted,” Webb said. “There are reasons for reporting our minutes. It might earn schools a different amount of money if a student left in the middle of the year, what schools will get the money for that kid.”

According to Webb, building class schedules isn’t random.

“When we total everything out, we can see how many minutes there would be based on different bell schedules,” Webb said. “If we have special schedules during the week, we have to account for that.”