The Richmond County Board of Education approved the make-up days Monday, after slightly modifying a recommendation by Superintendent Frank Roberson to reschedule school days before elementary and middle school pupils take the Criterion Referenced Competency Tests. Roberson proposed two Saturdays and March 17.
The make-up days are March 17, March 22 — a Saturday — and April 18, which is the Friday before Easter. The school system will ask the state to reschedule the start date for CRCT tests, which were scheduled to begin April 17.
“If students are sitting to take tests, you want to make sure they have had every opportunity to do well,” Roberson said. “We want our system to show that we are preparing our students.”
Staff and students will be required to attend all the make-up days, and absences will be treated according to the normal school system policies.
Board members raised concerns about low student attendance on a Saturday, but with few options to reschedule days before testing, opted to try a Saturday class day.
Roberson said the Saturday school day is an “experiment that is worth taking.” He added that trying a Saturday would help the board know whether they could be used in the future, if needed.
Helen Minchew, the board member who recommended the approved days, said families might have to make adjustments for the make-up days but it’s important for students to make-up missed class time.
“When an ice storm comes, everybody’s plans go by the wayside anyway,” Minchew said. “At times, we have to compensate, re-do our plans and cope.”
The school board forgave three days cancelled during January’s snow storm for students. On Feb. 20, the state school board voted to allow school districts not to make up days lost to both storms.
Georgia schools are normally required to be open to students at least 180 days a year, although furlough days in Richmond County reduced the calendar by four days.