Plain reaches max amount of ‘snow’ days

By Morgan Steinbach — The district has officially reached the given number of five calamity days. The high school is currently at eight days, the rest of the district is at seven days.(The first day of school was considered a “utility day” due to the lack of instructional time.)

Administration was promptly faced with the question, “how will we make up the missed time?”

Superintendent Brent May, with the help of the administrative team, created an alternative solution to the problem that does not require making up literal time in school: Blizzard Bags.

“The plan is rational and allows students to receive instruction even though they are not in school,” May said.

The Blizzard Bags will cover three additional days after the five missed days. If over eight days are missed, the administration is unsure of how the issue of making up time will be handled. The high school has already used up all if its Blizzard Bag assignments. The rest of the district has one more Blizzard Bag day.

The plan required teachers to make up for lost instructional time by posting assignments online for students to complete.

The alternative assignments were posted on the teachers’ web sites and under a “Blizzard Bag” tab on the district’s homepage. The students have two weeks from the missed day to complete the alternative assignment for the given course.

“I think students will think this is a waste of time because we already have enough work in our classes without extra assignments,” senior Lydia Rushin said. “I’d rather just make up the time in June.”

The administrative team, the teachers association and the Board of Education are in agreeance that having the assignments readily available to students will help the high school to stay on track.

“What happens when we miss school is that we’re in a rush. This plan gives a buffer to help teachers get through things,” May said.

English teachers Jennifer Austin and Roberta Scott agree with the plan set forth by May and administration.

“I too believe that the administration is looking out for all of our best interests. All of us would rather do this now than have to do make-up time in June,” Scott said.

May also recognizes not all students will take advantage of the posted assignments to stay ahead. If a student does not do an assignment that a given teacher has posted within the two week period, they will receive an “F” on the assignment, unless otherwise discussed.

If instructions are successfully followed, the alternative plan can be beneficial to both students and teachers.

“If I get to create the assignments, my goal will be to have the resolution assignments align with what we are doing in class so that the assignments are meaningful and help students master the concepts, skills and readings we are working on in class,” Austin said.

This year, the use of two hour delays has also been made available to help cut down the number of calamity days used by the district, although they have not yet been used. The two hour delay entail students coming to school two hours later than usual and can be caused by inclimate weather than may pass by 9 a.m.

The administration does not favor this alternative due to the unorganization it can cause in regards to younger grades.

“Calling a delay in the morning of would be chaotic for parents with little kids with child care, so my thing is, we will use all of our calamity days before a delay would be called,” May said.

There is a process the administrative board must go through to call of school, yet there is no exact science as to what to look for when deciding.

In the case of a potential snow day four to five people drive meet and drive the roads of the district at around 4:15 to 4:30 a.m. They then meet at the bus garage around 5 a.m. to examine maps and the forecast for the day. Between 5:20 and 5:30 a call must be made, as busses start to leave a 5:45 a.m.

“The only time that school is for sure called is if the wind chill reads between -15 and -20,” May said.

The proposed resolution to the make up days has been approved by the Board of Education but is awaiting approval by the Ohio Department of Education.

Currently Gov. Kasich has proposed adding on four more additional calamity days to the school year. The bill is currently in the house.

[Updated Aug. 7, 2017: This article has been reformatted for consistency.]