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New blizzard bags give schools snow day flexibility

When heavy snow canceled a day of school for students across the county last week, pupils at Riverside Local Schools had one other activity on their agenda that day besides watching TV marathons or playing video games — working on their “blizzard bags.”

Blizzard-bag

Riverside Schools kindergarten teacher Melanie Easton displays an example of a “blizzard bag” that was sent home this week with students so that they can make up school work on a snow day. The Ohio Department of Education has approved a measure that allows schools to make up three calamity days by using this approach. (EXAMINER PHOTO | MANDY LOEHR)

These bags containing various classroom assignments are a result of a new calamity day provision offered by the Ohio Department of Education.

School districts can opt to participate in the program that was  initiated by House Bill 153. It allows schools to make up three days beyond the allotted five calamity days by providing students with take-home assignments, which sometimes can be completed online.

Students then have two weeks to complete and turn in their class work.

Prior to the winter weather Wednesday, Riverside Schools had already used their five calamity days. Typically this would mean that the district would have to make up a school day, but the blizzard bag option now grants the school these extra calamity days before they have to consider make-up days.

“I really like the flexibility of the blizzard bags,” said Andy McGill, Riverside High School principal. “Then you don’t have to be as worried about making up school days at the end of the year.

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