Alex Keller, ’14
As winter rags on with viciously cold temperatures and heavy snowfall, Ohio’s allotment of five excused calamity days are long gone for many districts. Along with districts across the state, UA could be faced with the prospect of extending the school year.
To address this, Gov. John Kasich distributed a Jan. 27 press release vouching for an extension of the five days already provided for Ohio schools. It took a mere 23 days before the Ohio House came up with some solutions.
A plan to add four more calamity days, two reserved as teacher professional development days, was approved by the Ohio House Feb. 19. The result was an outstanding 80-16 bipartisan vote with Columbus’ five representatives in favor of the legislation.
While the bill has the House’s approval, it must go through the Senate, which has introduced a plan of their own: As long as schools use their five contingency days first the Senate believes they should not be punished. If schools exceed 10 calamity days, the school board will be given the authority to decide whether the schools must make up the days.
According to an email sent out by superintendent Paul W. Imhoff to UA parents, the Board of Education has reserved two days in the school calendar to makeup missed school over the alloted five days: Monday, April 7 and Thursday, June 5.
The UABOE also approved another solution to getting around the excess calamity days: “Blizzard Bags”.
The Blizzard Bags allow teachers to electronically give assignments to their students; these assignments can be used to fulfill a day of school for up to three possible makeup days.
When snow and ice resulted in a UA calamity day Feb. 5, students received their first Blizzard Bag assignments. According to Spanish teacher Lauren Kessinger, the ‘bags’ took only 10 to 15 minutes to plan, and she was happy to keep her students actively learning over the day off.
“I think it [was] a good idea to have a blizzard bag in place so that the kids [had] something to work on during the snow day,” Kessinger said.
Students have two weeks to complete the assignments. If the student does not have the ability to access the internet over the snow day, he or she will be provided the work when school resumes.
Senior Karla Jeggle spent the majority of her day completing her numerous Blizzard Bags assignments.
“[The blizzard bags] were a lot of work,” Jeggle said.“But [they were] better than being in school and definitely better than having to make up a day later [on].”