With the unseasonably cold winter, the Ohio Department of Education recently opened the opportunity for school districts in Ohio to engage with students online during calamity days. This process is commonly referred to as “blizzard bags” and can be a tool for school districts to use as part of their calamity day planning. During last night’s Board of Education meeting, the board approved a resolution in support of this tool.
A blizzard bag is when assignments are posted online for students to complete at home during calamity days. Students have up to two weeks to complete the assignment and turn it in for credit. Students who do not have Internet access at home will receive the assignment in paper format when they return to classes. Not only does this allow for a more continuous flow to the educational process, it also satisfies Ohio Revised Code requirements for school-time credit for up to three calamity days.
The lessons will be posted on an electronic communication channel by 11 a.m. on the calamity day. Students will then have up to two weeks to complete the assignment for credit. The lessons may be shared via websites, eCampus, Google Apps for Education, social media feed, email distribution list or other electronic communication option available to students.
This tool will only be used should it become necessary for the district to use more than the five allotted calamity days. As you may recall, today is the fourth such day that Hilliard City Schools has used this school year. The blizzard bags will allow us to receive credit, should it become necessary, for the sixth, seventh and eighth calamity day. If the district needs to use nine or more calamity days, we will extend the length of our school year into June. You may view the 2013-14 school year calendar online.
Again I thank everyone in our community for your part in keeping our schools open when possible this winter. We have amazing staff members, students, road crews and parents who are doing everything we can to help student learning continue during the winter months. I’m pleased that the blizzard bags will allow for some of this learning to continue should further days become necessary. Thank you for your continued dedication to our students and community. Stay warm and have a great day!
John Marschhausen, Ph.D.