Olentangy Valley News

Calamity days dwindle, but summer break intact

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Even if the district exceeds its five allotted calamity days, Olentangy Local School District officials have said they will not extend the school year.

The district has two calamity days remaining after using two during last week's spell of subzero weather. The district used its first calamity day Dec. 6 because of a snowstorm.

Michael Straughter, the district's director of communications, said Olentangy students can take online lessons from home if the district uses more calamity days than the state allows. Students would have two weeks to complete the lessons, which would prevent the need to delay summer vacation.

Straughter said the online lesson contingency plan has been in place for three years, but the district has never had the opportunity to use it.

"It's not something we've used prior to now, because the weather has not been that extreme," he said.

Starting next school year, the district can stop worrying about the calamity-day limit altogether.

Last summer, state legislators passed a law to measure school attendance in terms of hours, not days. Students in grades 7-12 will be required to attend 1,001 hours of class per year.

Straughter said Olentangy is "ahead of the game" because the district's middle school and high school students already attend school for 1,144 hours per school year. He said that number is unlikely to change in the coming years.

"We're not going to cut the hours of instruction," he said.

Ohio school districts saw their calamity-day totals cut from five to three under former Gov. Ted Strickland. The Ohio legislature restored the total to five in 2011 before scrapping the limit in 2013.

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