For many of our students, snow days mean a chance to take a break from school and homework. A change in Ohio law, however, will soon mean any school day missed due to weather conditions will be made up at the end of the year.

For many of our students, snow days mean a chance to take a break from school and homework. A change in Ohio law, however, will soon mean any school day missed due to weather conditions will be made up at the end of the year.

This school year, the state has allotted five calamity days. Dublin City Schools has used four. If we miss a sixth day, we will have to make up a school day. The two early dismissals due to weather this year do not count against our allotment of calamity days.

Beginning with the 2010-11 school year, Ohio school districts will only have three calamity days. Any school days missed beyond the three days allotted by the state will be made up in June. Beginning with 2011-12, Ohio school districts will have zero calamity days and any day of school missed will be made up at the end of the year.

The elimination of calamity days is part of the Ohio legislature's push for additional classroom time for students. Gov. Ted Strickland had originally wanted to add 20 days to the school year, but the political compromise was the elimination of calamity days.

Decisions regarding canceling school due to weather conditions are not taken lightly. We know canceling or delaying school causes a scheduling headache for parents. It is important to emphasize the safety of our students is our No. 1 priority when considering whether to have school.

Traction for our buses and for motorists driving in the vicinity of our buses is a prime concern. Visibility for our bus drivers is essential, and wind-chill factors are also considered. We do not want students waiting at bus stops if dangerous wind-chill conditions exist. District personnel monitor local radar information and weather service information to determine if a storm will necessitate a delay of school or a cancellation.

We must also take into consideration the conditions of all streets and roads in the district, not just city of Dublin streets. Our district consists of about 47 square miles in Franklin, Union and Delaware counties. About 40 percent of our students live outside the city of Dublin. Dublin streets are often in better condition than rural roads or Columbus streets following a snowstorm. There are about 1,400 streets and roads in our district.

If snow is falling when buses are set to begin their routes, we may need a delay for road crews to get on top of the situation, or our own plow teams to open a path to the schools before it is safe to proceed with classes. The district may implement a two-hour delay depending upon weather conditions. Like early dismissals, delays do not count against the number of calamity days provided by the state.

It is important for parents to know when a two-hour delay is announced, they need to continue to check the media and the district's Web site for updated information. In scenarios where power does not get restored, a fog does not lift or road conditions do not improve, two-hour delays may turn into closures. Whenever there is a two-hour delay due to inclement weather, the district's bus schedule and school start time schedule is pushed back two hours from their normal starting times.

If a two-hour delay is needed, most students, with the exceptions of PM kindergarten, PM preschool and ELI students will be picked up two hours later than normal.

AM kindergarten students and AM preschool students will attend class from 11:05 a.m. until 12:35 p.m., instead of the normal times of 9:05 a.m. to 11:35 a.m. AM Latchkey, (which is not a Dublin City Schools program), will NOT be offered if a two-hour delay is caused by weather.

PM kindergarten and PM preschool students will be picked up one hour late and attend class from 2:05 p.m. until 3:35 p.m. In short, both AM and PM kindergarten will have 90-minute school days if the start of classes is delayed by inclement weather.

The one-hour ELI program will take place from 12:35 p.m. to 1:55 p.m. Pickup and drop-off times in the middle of the day for one-hour ELI students will be one hour later than usual.

Extracurricular activities will proceed as scheduled if the district must use a two-hour delay due to weather, but please stay tuned to the district's Web site and local media for possible changes depending upon the opponent district's situation.

In the event school is canceled due to inclement weather, there will be no practices or games at the middle school or freshman levels. No varsity practices will take place until after noon, contingent upon weather conditions and the forecast for the remainder of the day. Varsity coaches and athletics directors are responsible for the decision regarding practices.

Decisions about varsity and junior varsity games on calamity days will be made in collaboration with the athletics directors and principals of the schools involved.

Saturday School, Dublin CARES and Saturday extracurricular events also have the potential to be impacted by the weather. If we must cancel Saturday events, this information will be announced on the district's Web site and through the local media.

David Axner is superintendent of Dublin City Schools.