Hurricane Irma, which brought high winds, flooding, power outages, and assorted wreckage to schools from the southern tip of Florida to further north in the state, also caused some school districts to consider cancelling holidays during the rest of the school year in order to provide the state-mandated number of attendance days for students, the Lions’ Legend reports.
For the student newspaper at Lake Nona High School in Orlando, Wesley Torres says October 27, November 20 and 21, and February 19 were on the chopping block as possible student holidays that could be jettisoned in order to make up for lost school days during Irma’s visit.
October 27 is a student holiday, commonly celebrating the anniversary of the founding of the US Continental Navy on October 13, 1775. Navy Day was chosen as the 27th because that’s President Theodore Roosevelt’s birthday (and it’s pretty close to October 13). Roosevelt was a strong supporter of the Navy, as is the state of Florida.
November 20 and 21 are the first days of the Thanksgiving break at the school, although Thanksgiving itself this year falls on Thursday, November 23. February 19 is Presidents Day.
Then on Tuesday, Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart told superintendents across the state that school districts wouldn’t need to make up two of the days they lost from the hurricane, effectively granting schools a waiver from that part of the law.
After the commissioner’s announcement, Lake Nona chose to have students in school on Navy Day and on November 20, cancelling those days off in order to make up for lost days. Schools in that district, then, pledged to give students back the two other holidays but will still hold classes on October 27 and November 20.
In nearby Seminole County, students will also get two days off back. They’ll need to go to school October 16–17 but not on December 22 or March 16. The Lake County school district has not made any decisions about make-up days, according to a report yesterday in the Orlando Sentinel.