XENIA — Despite the snow and freezing temperatures causing myriad delays and school closings in December and January, most Greene County school districts are not worried about having to make days up.
The Ohio Department of Education requires high schools and middle schools to be open for instruction for at least 1,001 hours. Elementary schools must be open for 910 hours. Prior to the 2014-15 school year, the state required a certain number of days. Using either standard, districts are OK for now.
“We have enough hours,” Xenia Community School District Superintendent Dr. Gabe Lofton said. “We far exceed that. I think we should be in pretty decent shape the rest of the winter.”
When planning the calendar, Xenia scheduled “well over” 1,100 hours for the high school and middle school, Lofton said. The elementary schools have more than 910 hours scheduled. But because elementary schools operate on a five and a half hour day while the high school and middle school are in session an hour longer, the elementary schools may run out of extra time sooner.
“We still have some excess hours, but we don’t have a whole lot to give,” Lofton said. In the event the district does have to close or delay more, the state allows up to three days of “blizzard bags,” in which assignments and lesson plans are posted online for students.
Despite being closed four times, delaying once and releasing early once in January, Beavercreek City Schools is in a “good position,” according to Superintendent Paul Otten.
“The hours that our students receive instruction throughout the year significantly exceeds the state standard,” he said. “Because of the transition of days to hours … we currently do not find ourselves in a ‘make-up’ posture for this current school year.”
Otten added that beginning next school year, make-up days will be initiated with the eighth calamity day.
Using either the old or new standards, Cedar Cliff Local Schools are also in decent shape.
“But it’s only Jan. 17 and I am just crossing my fingers and praying for good weather and an early spring,” said Superintendent Chad Mason.
Mason said the shift to hours may extend the number of days a district could be cancelled without having to make time up. But he said many districts still choose to make up days based on the previous “five-day standard.”
“A student’s education is important and it is the right thing to do,” Mason said.
The Greeneview Local School District in Jamestown isn’t approaching extra days yet either, but a plan is in place. The district won’t make up the first five days, but days 6-9 would be made up.
“This is not necessarily required, but we felt it was the right thing to do for our students,” Superintendent Isaac Seevers said. The district had set aside Martin Luther King Jr., day as the first make-up day, but it was not necessary to be in session. Presidents Day would be the next make-up day and then there are three Fridays in May where there is no school scheduled, but Seevers said they would use them if necessary.
Sugarcreek Local Schools in Bellbrook have some calamity hours left as well, according to Manager of Business Jeffrey Lewis, who is also interim superintendent.
“We can absorb several more days, however we’re hoping this warming trend takes us to June,” he said.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.
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