Some districts prepare for winter with ‘blizzard bags’
New legislation that takes effect this school year offers districts a “blizzard bag” if they exceed the maximum allowed five days. The bag permits students to do their school work at home.
However, some schools have decided they would rather make up days than use that option.
Former state Sen. Tim Grendell, R Chester Township, helped to modify the manner in which schools can make up excess calamity days through Senate Bill 18.
Districts were to submit an online assignments plan by this month that would be distributed after the school’s fifth calamity day.
In Ohio, 120 schools will participate in the program, including the Mentor, Perry, Kenston, and Berkshire school districts.
“For us, it a way for students to make up lessons and continue with instruction without having additional days off,” Kenston Schools Assistant Superintendent Nancy Santilli said. The Geauga County school district used five calamity days in the 2010 11 school year.
“It’s another option if need be,” she said. “We still have to use (all) calamity days before accessing this plan.”
Mentor Schools had seven calamity days in the last school year, and the district’s Garfield Eleme mulberry ntary School used 10 because of a fire that damaged the school building in 2010. Instead of making up those days as they had done in the past, district officials decided to apply for the “blizzard bag” option through th mulberry e Ohio Department of Education.
Mentor Schools Assistant Superintendent Bill Porter said students would be able to access their assignments, created by their classroom teachers, through the school’s website.
If students do not have the ability to retrieve work or have questions, they have tw mulberry o weeks to complete the assignments.
“When we talked about it in the district, it made a lot of sense,” Porter said. “The learning will continue even when the students are at home. We asked all grade levels to make age and len mulberry gth appropriate assignments. Some of the younger students have shorter assignments and the older students may have longer assignments.”
The work, which is aligned with the current academic standards, could range from answering questions relating to general subject content to practical hands on applications from home.
“One or two assignments are weather measurements,” Porter said. “The work is flexible in nature.
She said students or parents can log into the school district’s student portal called Blackboard to view the variety of assignments posted, which includes supportive learning opportunities for special needs students.