Parents and students in Fort Mill be warned: Memorial Day is a school day, a necessary mandate to make up an absence triggered by a snow day earlier this month.
But the holiday turned school day should not catch parents and students off-guard.
"This is no surprise," Bob Ormseth, the Fort Mill School District spokesman, said.
That's because the weather make-up day has been on the school's yearly calendar since it was approved by the Fort Mill school board last year. The calendar is available on the school district's Web site at www.fort-mill.k12.sc.us.
Fort Mill students won't be the only York County youth in class Memorial Day. Students in Clover also will also be in school, according to the annual school calendar displayed on the district's Web site.
Ormseth said Memorial Day school attendance was approved by the Fort Mill School Board on Feb. 11, 2008. That approval left spring break intact for planned vacations, school board member Diane Dasher said.
"We've taken such heat about interrupting spring break plans because people plan vacations and have to put deposits down months ahead," said Dasher, a six-year board member.
In planning the district's annual school calendar, the board seeks advice from a diversified group, she said.
"We take input from parents, teachers, administrators and staff on agreeing to a school calendar," she said. "We go with the general consensus that suits most people."
Yet, planning make-up days on Martin Luther King Day, Presidents Day or Good Friday was not an option, Dasher said.
"Those were not originally designated as make-up days," she said.
And the week traditionally set aside in April for spring break also was not an option, she said.
"A lot of people have already made plans for spring break," Dasher said. "If students don't come, there will be a large percentage of students out of school and that will hurt us in attendance on the state report card."
Memorial Day is slated as weather make-up day in Fort Mill as a result of inclement weather on Feb. 4, according to the district's Web site. Students will also attend class on March 13 -- originally a teacher work day -- to make up for an inclement weather day on Jan. 20, according to the school calendar.
Neighboring school districts also are addressing their weather make-up days. In Rock Hill, students made up inclement weather days on Feb. 13 and Feb. 16. That day also is slated as a make-up day for York students, according to the York School District's Web site.
Meanwhile, students in Indian Land schools have Jan. 16 and Feb. 16 as possible make-up days, according to the Lancaster School District's Web site.
The state requires school districts to set aside three weather make-up days, but the Fort Mill School District designated six days, Ormseth said. A final weather make-up day is slated for June 8, he said.
On the holiday turned school day, Dasher hopes teachers will use Memorial Day to help educate students on its importance.
"I am bothered by the fact that students have to go to school on Memorial Day because it's an important holiday," she said. "That's the day that we remember the people who died in service to our country."
Martha Kinard, a former 12-year-school board member, helped approved the district's current calendar, including the scheduled Memorial Day weather make-up day.
"It's marked on the calendar," she said of the weather make-up day. "We don't have any control on the weather."
Bethann Rohaly, a teacher at Fort Mill High School, failed to find fault with holding class Memorial Day.
"I'm thrilled it's not Good Friday," she said. "So be it."