Columbia County Board of Education votes for no classes during 2020 Masters week


COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WJBF) – Earlier this month, Augusta National Golf Club announced tentative plans to host the Masters from November 9 to November 15. Many people in the CSRA, like students and homeowners, look forward to Masters week every year to make some money or to go to the golf tournament.

The Columbia County Board of Education is calling off school during the newly scheduled November Masters week. 

“Having a Masters later is better than having no Masters at all,” said parent Dana Brady.

Distance learning has not been too harsh for Brady and her kids. 

She said, “I think Columbia County has done a great job. I’ve got one in elementary. One in middle and one in high school so the biggest adjustment has been for my youngest. She’s in first grade and they really weren’t using the whole online platform for her so that was totally new. But she’s done really well. We’ve worked together.”

The school year will end on May 8 for Columbia County students who have met satisfactory progress in their classes.

“I mean, usually every kid is glad when schools out but it’s going to be on less thing to do,” said student Alex Ballance.

For the upcoming school year, the Columbia County school board approved adjusting the schedule at their virtual meeting Tuesday. The first day of school will be Monday, August 3. If the Masters happens in November, there won’t be school that week. October 12th will be a normal school day instead of a vacation day. 

School Superintendent Dr. Sandra Carraway explained, “Because of all the families that we have that work the tournament, our employees, students working the tournament, we have families who rent their homes, and for those reasons, we had to adjust our calendar.”

“I think for families in this area, having Masters off has been a long-standing tradition and it should be upheld regardless of the changed date,” said parent Tina Tammadon.

Brady added, “One of my cousins is actually big on the Masters housing for actually a lot of the European golfers. As well as other folks so it’s very important that we continue to adjust our schedules and make accommodations so we’re still bringing in that income we’re accustomed to.”

The new school schedule is tentative. If the Masters does not happen in November or if it’s patron free, October 12 will be an off day. School will continue during the week targeted for the Masters.  Then, the school year would end three days earlier than scheduled. There will still be no school on Veterans Day. 

“Normally, we would have two days in October but because this is a major election year, we also have to take off election day, which is November the third, because some of our schools are used as voting precincts. And so we had a very small fall break which consisted of one school holiday on October the twelfth,” said Dr. Carraway.

While many people are excited for a November Masters, some are still worried.

“In some ways, it’s good because a lot of my friends go to the Masters and they really enjoy it every year. And it is a good source of income for our town. But on the other hand, there’s a lot of people coming in from out of town and they might start the spread even faster,” said Ballance.

Thanksgiving break for Columbia County schools has not changed. There will be no school that week. No other changes have been made to the spring semester.

Graduation dates are set and all will be held at James Brown arena in downtown Augusta.

Here is a list of ceremonies:

Friday, July 24 – Harlem High, 4:30 p.m.

Greenbrier High, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, July 25 – Grovetown High, 9:30 a.m.

Lakeside High, 1:00 p.m.

Evans High, 4:30 p.m.

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