Slippery road conditions and mounds of snow have caused districts across Clark and Champaign counties to cancel multiple days of classes this school year, but only some local district will be forced to make up time.
The old statewide rule of allowing five calamity school days for all of Ohio’s 613 school districts was changed in 2014 to give more control to districts in handling their calendars. How schools chose to make-up missed hours is now based upon individual school boards.
“We don’t really pay attention to the number of hours of missed school as the board requires we make up all days after missing five,” Superintendent of Urbana City Schools Charles Thiel said.
Ohio schools are required to provide a minimum of 910 hours of instruction for students in first through sixth grade and 1,001 hours for grades seventh through 12th.
It is recommended that schools schedule “excess” hours above the minimum number of required instruction, according to the Ohio Department of Education’s website.
The ODE website describes minimum hours like this: High School A is to be open for instruction for 1,001 hours, the minimum required. During the winter, bad weather forces the school to close for 32 hours, High School A is required to make up the 32 hours of missed instruction. High School B is open for instruction of 1,040 hours. During the winter, bad weather forces the school to close for 32 hours. High School B is not required to make up the 32 hours of missed instruction. In fact, it still has seven excess hours remaining.
Of all the districts in Clark and Champaign County that responded to a request for information on the number of calamity hours they have used so far this year, only one Urbana will be making up days.
Springfield City Schools, Triad Local Schools, Springfield-Clark Career Technology Center and Tecumseh Local Schools said they will not be making up hours.
Cherie Moore, Supervisor of Communications for Springfield City School District, said Springfield schools are not even close to falling under the minimum number of hours.
“No schools in the SCSD District will fall under the minimum number of hours set by State of Ohio,” Moore said.
Even if school districts come close to falling below the minimum number of instruction hours, parents will receive plenty of advanced notice, according to ODE.
“A traditional school district board of education must hold a public hearing at least 30 days prior to adopting its school schedule,” according to a statement on the ODE website.
As for the rest of the winter season, superintendents in the area are holding out hope that spring is near.
“I am hopeful that this tough winter is almost over,” said Superintendent of Triad Schools Vickie Hoffman.