Area schools use up ‘calamity’ days

Findlay City Schools is the only area district that will come out of this cold, snow-covered week with “calamity” days to spare.
The state allows school districts to close on five “calamity” days per school year. Those five missed days, usually caused by bad weather, don’t have to be made up.
If more than five days are missed, though, schools have to adjust their calendars and make up the days.
Findlay, which has two “calamity” days remaining, is the only district in the area that hasn’t used up its allotment.
“Our main concern is safety, but this is northwest Ohio, you have to drive in snow,” Findlay Superintendent Dean Wittwer said this week.
Most area schools were closed from Monday through Wednesday this week because of subzero cold, snow and ice.
Some districts, such as McComb, remained closed on Thursday. It was the ninth day the McComb district has been closed this school year.
“That doesn’t matter, if it’s not safe. Obviously, our number one thing is safety each day,” said Meri Skilliter, superintendent for McComb.
McComb will make up the four extra days at the end of the school year, just as Findlay will if it exceeds its five-day limit.
“We find that families know not to plan anything right at the end of the school year, so that’s always been a good time for us to make up days,” Wittwer said.
Other area schools won’t wait until May or June to make up missed days.
Riverdale, North Baltimore, Fostoria and a number of others will use Presidents Day in February as a makeup day, and Liberty-Benton will use days from its spring break, if needed.
Superintendents in each of those districts said making up the days before major testing occurs is better than tacking them on at the end of the year.
Van Buren and Vanlue schools allow students to make up three days online. The districts provide assignments and lessons for classes on the school website, said Tim Myers, superintendent for Van Buren.
Van Buren has two days it will make up online, while Vanlue has one to make up online.
To make up school days online, districts have to submit plans to the state for teaching online by July 31, according to the Ohio Department of Education.
Making up days online is something that has been mentioned at Arlington school board meetings.
“It’s come up, but we haven’t formally talked about it yet,” said Kevin Haught, superintendent for Arlington.
Staying home to make up classes may seem like an easier way to replace classes missed on snow days, but it may not go as far as it should, Wittwer said. Superintendents in other school districts agreed, saying more is learned in a classroom.
“We find more value in the classroom than we do by doing it online,” Wittwer said. “We just don’t see students getting as much out of it online.”
Here’s how many “calamity” days have been taken by area districts so far this school year.
Arcadia: 5 days.
Arlington: 6 days.
Bluffton: 5 days.
Carey: 6 days.
Cory-Rawson: 6 days.
Findlay: 3 days.
Fostoria: 6 days.
McComb: 9 days.
Riverdale: 7 days.
Van Buren: 7 days.
Vanlue: 6 days.
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