Hilliard Northwest News

District signs up for state's online makeup day program


Hilliard City Schools, faced with the probability of exhausting all five of its calamity days, will use a relatively new Ohio law that allows students to make up work online when schools are closed.

"We think this will be a good solution for us this year," said district spokeswoman Amanda Morris.

Hilliard will use the new program only if it exceeds the five calamity days provided by Ohio law.

District officials canceled classes Tuesday, Jan. 28, because of subzero temperatures, using the district's fourth calamity day.

School board members on Jan. 27 unanimously approved a resolution accepting the opportunity to participate in the program.

Because of continuing bad weather, the Ohio Department of Education will allow districts the opportunity to participate in the program mid-year, Morris said, and Hilliard took advantage.

While the program has been available for two years, it would be the first time Hilliard uses it should it become necessary later this year, Morris said.

The policy allows for a district, only after it has used all five calamity days, to recover up to an additional three days using "blizzard bags."

"It's an alternative to calamity days," Superintendent John Marschhausen said.

Marschhausen also sent a letter explaining the policy to district parents.

Students have up to two weeks to complete online assignments for credit, Marschhausen said.

Students without Internet access will receive the assignment in paper format upon returning to school, Marschhausen said.

According to a survey of the district's middle school students, 95 percent have home Internet access, Morris said.

The lessons are available through a variety of means including Google applications, email and social media, Morris said.

Lessons will be posted by 11 a.m. on the district's sixth calamity day, if it is taken.

Marschhausen said the policy reduces the chances of the district adding days to the end of the school year in order to meet the state minimum.

"If we have to add days, we jeopardize our graduation dates," which are scheduled for May 28-30, he said.

May 30 is the final scheduled day for students.

"I think it's a great alternative instead of adding days at the end of the year when some families already have the start of a vacation planned," board member Andy Teater said.