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Select Ohio Schools Approved to Make Up Calamity Days via Web Access
As technology use is becoming customary in classrooms, it is also allowing for schoolwork to be completed and submitted from home. Last winter, Connect Ohio described a virtual learning day pilot program being implemented where schools exceeding their allotted calamity day limit could be eligible to turn additional calamity days into virtual learning days. Currently, more than 23 schools across Ohio have been approved to have online calamity days.
In order for schools to qualify for this program, they must apply and be approved by the Ohio Department of Education. According to Ohio Laws and Rules, the board of education of any school may submit a plan to require students to access and complete classroom lessons posted on the district’s website (or online portal) in order to make-up days in which it is necessary to close the schools. A maximum of three unexcused calamity days can be accounted for under this provision (full list of code rules here).
A lesson plan must be developed by each classroom teacher prior to November 1 of the school year to cover the number of make-up days or hours specified in the school’s plan.
Mount Notre Dame High School, located in Cincinnati, Ohio is one school approved to make-up three calamity days, after exceeding the five allowable calamity days granted.
“We like having this option and if necessary, would definitely enact it,” said Karen M. Day, dean of academic development at Mount Notre Dame. “With 75% of our student population on a one-to-one program with tablet PCs, our students are equipped with the tools they need to complete a digital-based lesson plan. I applaud the Department of Education for allowing schools to use the resources that are prevalent in our society to improve the learning capability of our students.”
Some concerns with the program stem from households that may not have a home Internet connection or computer. This was rectified with the option of students being able to receive a “blizzard bag” after returning to school, which would contain paper copies of the online assignments. The students are then given a deadline for completing the work.
Guiding Shepherd Christian School in New Carlisle, Ohio provides this option, along with other schools providing some form of a similar opportunity for students who may be unable to complete the assignments from home.
“If needed, we feel it will allow students to remain focused on school studies if a snow emergency keeps the school closed for an extended period of time,” said Amy Goldblatt, administrative aide and teaching aide at Guiding Shepherd Christian School. “At the end of the school year, it is sometimes difficult to keep students from focusing on summer break; therefore, extending the end of the school year to make up snow days is less effective.”