Pickerington Local School District officials once again have plans in place for students to make up class time that might be lost to inclement weather, as well as a policy that maintains homework assignments if school is canceled.
As they have done the previous two school years, district officials again plan to make up at least one school day if classes are canceled because of threatening weather prior to Feb. 19.
If such a cancellation occurs, the district will hold classes Feb. 19, which currently is scheduled as a holiday in observance of Presidents Day.
"We will use that day as a makeup day, regardless of whether the district has reached the five-day limit of excusable days," said David Ball, the district's public-relations director.
If school is canceled a second, third or fourth time during the 2017-18 year, the district also will employ "blizzard bags" again.
Blizzard bags are at-home assignments students are required to complete in place of attending school on snow days or other calamity days.
"The students have up to 10 days to turn in their blizzard-bag assignments," Ball said.
Students who fail to complete blizzard-bag assignments within 10 days are marked with an unexcused absence for that day.
It is essentially the same policy the district had in place last year. Pickerington did not cancel any classes last year because of winter weather.
"One change from the past is tied to the greater use of technology in the district," Ball said.
"Teachers in grades 5-12 are posting assignments to their Google classroom pages, so students can access the blizzard-bag homework online.
"These assignments align more closely with what's currently happening in the student's classrooms, so they are more relevant to what they'd be studying if school was in session," Ball said. "Students can access this homework using the district-provided Chromebooks and iPads."
Although students will be required to make up at least one school day and up to four days of classwork if winter forces cancellations this year, they will be let off the hook after that.
Ball said the district has maintained its recent policy of making up school days and assigning work when classes are cancelled to help keep students on track academically.
"The general philosophy has been that the primary mission of Pickerington Schools is educating students," he said. "That doesn't happen as effectively if students are not in the classroom. So, the district's approach for the past few years is to have make-up days and blizzard bags for the first few snow days to encourage learning."
Ball noted additional calamity days beyond four will result in students being "excused from attendance."