By Lenny C. Lepola
The State of Ohio allows school districts five calamity each school year.
Last winter’s severe weather caused some Ohio school districts to cancel almost 20 days of classes. Big Walnut had seven days when weather issues canceled classes; the two extra days were made up at the end of the school year, with graduating seniors exempted.
To make up for lost classroom time many school districts approve “blizzard bags” before the beginning of the school year. Blizzard bags are pre-approved assignments that are used if a school district exceeds its five allotted calamity days.
Big Walnut Local School District Superintendent Steve Mazzi said he and his administrative team have avoided using blizzard bags.
“Blizzard bags are prepared so far ahead of time that the academic content is not relevant to where students are at in their curriculum when school is missed,” Mazzi said. “They’re just busy work.”
During the Aug. 14 board of education meeting, board members approved a resolution adopting a Calamity Day Alternative Make-up Plan. The plan allows teachers to post relevant assignments online during days when school is missed beyond the state-allotted five calamity days.
The plan, crafted in agreement with Ohio Department of Education mandates, would allow students 10 days from posting to complete assignments, with an incomplete or failure grade on the assignment for non-compliance, and permits students without Internet access to complete the lessons after returning to school.
“This would allow teachers to post relevant assignments online if the school district exceeds it’s allotted calamity days,” Mazzi said.