Greenville County Schools has released its 2017-18 calendar. The first day of school for students is Tuesday, August 22, 2017. The last day of school is Wednesday, June 6, 2018.
Under existing State law, the first allowable day of school for 2017-18 would have been Monday, August 21. Given that a total solar eclipse will occur that day and be viewable in South Carolina, the General Assembly voted to allow schools to start two days earlier, on Thursday, August 17, so that students could receive instruction tailored toward what is being called the “Great American Eclipse.”
The timing of the eclipse led the GCS calendar committee, comprised of parents, teachers, principals, and staff, to recommend starting school on Tuesday, August 22. The committee cited concerns over the timing of the eclipse, which will coincide with elementary dismissal, and the challenges of ensuring safe viewing during pickup and bus rides. Instead, Greenville County Schools will provide eclipse education at the end of this school year and will make additional information and resources available on District websites and social media in August.
“We are fortunate to be one of the 12 states that will experience this eclipse in totality, but it would be impossible during dismissal time and throughout bus rides to prevent students from looking at the eclipse in an unsafe manner,” said Superintendent Burke Royster. “Opting not to have school on the day of the total solar eclipse provides an opportunity for families to experience this incredible phenomenon together and for parents to ensure the protection of their children’s eye health.”
In other calendar details, two half-days have been built into the 2017-18 calendar. They are Wednesday, December 20, 2017, and Wednesday, June 6, 2018. Students will not attend school on teacher professional development days, slated for October 19-20 and February 16.
The school makeup days, in order of use, are March 19 (makeup day #1), March 30 (makeup day #2) and April 27 (makeup day #3). These days, sometimes called “snow days,” will remain as student and teacher holidays unless the District must close unexpectedly due to inclement weather or some other event. Every time the District closes on a planned attendance day a makeup day becomes a student attendance day.
The Superintendent determines the school calendar after receiving recommendations from the Calendar Committee. Those recommendations are based on State requirements, input from parent groups and school faculties, and other information such as testing windows set by the State Department of Education.