DAYTON, Ohio (AP) – A new Ohio law on school snow days is rolling out in a piecemeal fashion with the rules not taking effect simultaneously for all school districts around the state.
The new law requires students to spend a minimum number of hours in school each year instead of a minimum number of days. But the rules don’t take effect until schools’ union contracts expire, the Dayton Daily News reports.
The Dayton district in southwestern Ohio will keep using the previous “five calamity days” rule for another three winters. The Springfield district in western Ohio has switched to the hours-based calendar, but it still plans to make up any school days missed over five.
“The reality is our children need all the time they can get, and even additional time before and after school and in the summer because many of them come in behind,” Springfield Superintendent David Estrop said.
Ohio schools previously had to schedule 178 days of instruction. They could miss up to five days because of snow or some other “calamity,” but had to make up additional days missed.
The new law requires 1,001 hours of instruction for grades 7-12 and at least 910 hours for all-day kindergarten through sixth grade. Students in half-day kindergarten must spend at least 455 hours in school.
Some school leaders like the new flexibility for making up lost time.
“We still have some opportunities identified for makeup days if we lose a considerable amount of instruction, but now it’s about the instruction, not about meeting a minimum number of days,” Greenon Superintendent Dan Bennett said.
But some confusion continues. Some schools contacted by the newspaper had to double-check which system they were using, and others weren’t sure what fringe school events count toward the minimum.
The Ohio Department of Education says teacher training days and assemblies are among events that count, while school meals and extracurricular activities don’t count.
Information from: Dayton Daily News, http://www.daytondailynews.com
(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)