The compromise state legislators came up with in regards to calamity days due to the severe winter still has local school districts working to adjust schedules to fit in make-up days.
On Thursday, Elyria Schools announced school will be in session on March 31 and June 9 for students and teachers. Both days were to be for teacher training but will now be instructional days, said Amy Higgins, district spokeswoman.
Elyria had eight snow days and needs to make up three of them.
“It wasn’t a simple plan the state came up with, and unless we use significantly more calamity days, it doesn’t help us,” Higgins said.
In a letter Higgins sent to educators last week, she explained the convoluted state plan and how it affects schools.
“Unfortunately, there are a number of caveats to this proposal,” the letter said. “The long and short of it is, before these ‘extra’ days kick in a district will have had to use all five calamity days, plus four additional contingency days before they can make use of the additional four new days. With (March 12’s) closure, we’ve used eight days, which does not qualify us for the extra days at this time.”
The third day Elyria has to make up will likely not be an actual school day. School officials are looking at alternatives and are throwing around the words “blizzard bags” as a hint to what they’re thinking.
“It is essentially the equivalent of that missed day in all subjects,” Higgins said. “The idea is that teachers, principals and the curriculum department will create at-home assignments to make up for the lost work. The children will have a couple of week to complete those assignments.”
No two districts have chosen the same approach to making up the time last because of weather and other circumstances.
Lorain Schools has had nine district-wide closings this school year — one school was closed 10 days due to a heating problem, according to Superintendent Tom Tucker. Lorain has to make up four days to meet the 180-day school year requirement
Lorain will hold classes on May 20, which had been scheduled for a teacher training day. School days will be extended 30 minutes beginning April 14 after spring break to make up the remainder of the time.
Tucker said the plan was formulated with input from the teachers union and parents. He said extended hours made more sense academically than extra days in June.
“It’s after (state) testing and it’s warm,” Tucker said.
Keystone Schools has informed parents that students will return from spring break one day early on April 21 and the last day of school will be June 6. The district has to make up four days.
Columbia Schools could benefit in the plan as proposed. It has used 11 calamity days, said Superintendent Graig Bansek. The district has not come up with a plan for addressing make-up days.
“We are working through the make-up now,” Bansek said. “Still waiting for the governor to sign the bill.”
Amherst Schools will make up fours days on April 21, June 2, 3 and 4. The law exempts seniors from attending make-up days occurring after their graduation day, according to the Amherst Schools website.
Reporter Evan Goodenow contributed to this story.