Rocky Fork Enterprise

Students to use 'blizzard bag' option for makeup days

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Extra days at the end of the school year won't be added for Gahanna-Jefferson students after all.

The Gahanna-Jefferson Board of Education on March 13 approved a plan for alternatives to make up calamity days, including up to three days of take-home assignments via "blizzard bags."

Gahanna-Jefferson students missed seven days of instruction because of inclement weather, so many district students must make up two days, under a plan approved March 12 by the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate.

Superintendent Francis Scruci said the House and Senate provided school districts an opportunity to have alternative makeup days in the form of additional homework through blizzard bags. He said district leaders looked at the existing calendar, with the students' last day set for May 29 and the last day for teachers May 30. If two days were added to the end of the calender, he said, it would create a delay for retirees.

Summer school, scheduled to begin June 2, also would have had to be postponed.

Because many families already have set vacation plans, Scruci said, building principals had heard that many students wouldn't be attending classes if the regular calendar were extended.

"One of the things we looked at was the opportunity to do blizzard bags," he said. "The key was to make sure it was a meaningful experience for students. We talked to union members and other administrators. The blizzard bag option gives us up to three days. We want to do two."

Under this option, teachers will provide missed lessons via the district's Web portal or website. Each student enrolled in a course of which a lesson is posted will be granted a two-week period from the date of the posting to complete the lesson. The district will provide access to district computers before, during and after the school day or could provide a substantially similar paper lesson for students to complete assignments.

Scruci said high school seniors don't have to make up days, and they won't see a change in their graduation date.

By going with the blizzard-bag option, he said, substitutes wouldn't have to be hired for staff members who are retiring, and summer school could start as scheduled.

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