Columbia County school officials say they will try to work with pupils who might be absent on days previously announced as fall holidays -- Oct. 23-24.
The board decided Tuesday to change the school schedule to accommodate the teacher furloughs created by state funding cuts.
It will also stretch the Thanksgiving holiday out a full week.
"If, for example, a family has booked a cruise and they can't change it ... if they will produce (evidence of the prior commitment), while we can't excuse the absence, we will allow them to make up any work they missed," said Deputy Superintendent Sandra Carraway.
Typically, pupils are allowed to make up only major tests or projects on days they incur an unexcused absence.
School board member Mike Sleeper said feedback to the calendar change was generally positive.
"Most folks are in support of it and happy for it, especially when they look at other school systems and what they're forced to do," he said.
Kara Lee Coggins, whose two daughters attend Greenbrier Elementary School, said she liked the change.
"I understand why they had to change it (the school calendar) and I don't see it as a bad thing," Ms. Coggins said. "We're still getting the two days off. They're just coming later in the year."
Tammy Flynn, the mother of a fifth-grader attending Riverside Elementary School and a seventh-grader at Riverside Middle School, was less pleased.
"For working parents, it's a lot easier to find someone to watch your kids for a couple of days than it is for an entire week," she said.
Bel-Air Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Fran Cagle saw the pros and cons of the change.
"For someone who's not from here, having an entire week off at Thanksgiving gives us more time to visit with family," said the Philadelphia native. "But, as a teacher, I'll miss those two days (the fall break). They're a great way for us (educators) to recharge our batteries."
Reach Donnie Fetter at (706) 868-1222, ext. 115, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
COLUMBIA COUNTY SCHOOL CALENDAR
AUG. 3: Furlough day
AUG. 4-7: Pre-planning
AUG. 10: First day of school
SEPT. 7: Holiday/Labor Day
SEPT. 9: Progress reports
SEPT. 17: Early release/parent conferences
OCT. 9: End of nine weeks
OCT. 16: Report cards
NOV. 11: Progress reports
NOV. 23: Furlough day
NOV. 23-27: Holidays/Thanksgiving
DEC. 16-18: Semester exams
DEC. 18: End first semester
DEC. 21-JAN. 1 (INCLUSIVE): Holidays
JAN. 5: First day, second semester
JAN. 8: Report cards
JAN. 18: Holiday/Martin Luther King Day
FEB. 5: Progress reports
FEB. 11: Early release/parent conferences
FEB. 15: Holidays/winter break
FEB. 16: Student holiday/Teacher professional learning day
MARCH 12: End third nine weeks
MARCH 19: Report cards
APRIL 5-9: Holidays/spring break
APRIL 20: Progress reports
MAY 19-21: Semester exams
MAY 21: End second semester
MAY 22: Graduation
MAY 24-25: Post-planning
MAY 26: Report cards
MAY 31: Holiday/Memorial Day