July 28, 2014

Elyria
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Schools on their own with calamity days amid stalemate in Legislature

ELYRIA — The back-and-forth debate over adding calamity days continues in Columbus, leaving school officials to deal with their mangled school schedules.

It’s not often school districts use all of their calamity days and then some, but that’s the story for Lorain County schools this winter. To deal with the fallout, new buzzwords — make-up days, contingency plans and blizzard bags — are dominating the conversation.

Adding a school day to the previously set spring break is on tap for Keystone students.

“There has been no progress on the calamity day issue, and the General Assembly in Columbus cannot come to an agreement,” Superintendent Jay Arbaugh wrote in an email message to the Keystone community.

“That means that as of now, our first day for everyone to make up will be Monday, April 21.”

Keystone’s last day of school will be June 6.

In Midview, the district has a blended learning concept that will allow for an online instructional day if the district needs to take another calamity day. Superintendent Scott Goggins said the details of the plan, also known as ‘`blizzard bags,’’ are still being worked out. However, it gives the district an opportunity to expand on a concept that allows for an expanded school day.

“We have never had to do this before, but students are familiar with the concept. Google Docs, Power School and other online components have changed the way students learn,” he said.

Daniel White, Midview director of education, said such work would not count against the district as another missed school day. The district has already used nine calamity days.

“On a day when students can’t be in the building, they can do work that is within the scope of what a teacher would assign on a normal day,” he said.

John Charlton, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Education, said districts that are using contingency days to fulfill guidelines for mandatory days of instruction do not have to notify the state. At the end of the school year, through the state online reporting system, districts have to report how many days they were open.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @LisaRobersonCT.

  • Tim Krezman

    Superintendent Scott Goggin not Goggins