JEROMESVILLE, Ohio (WJW) – A number of local school districts are scrambling to come up with contingency plans after being forced to use all of their calamity days for the entire school year.
The storms that hit Northeast Ohio in recent weeks came with a mix of snow, heavy rain and ice and created hazardous driving conditions.
The stretch of bad weather prompted the Hillsdale Local School District in the Ashland County village of Jeromesville to use all five of its snow days.
“Obviously we think about kids walking down driveways and then young drivers driving and there’s a lot to it and obviously keeping the buses safe so that we get kids here safely,” said Hillsdale Superintendent Dr. Catherine Trevathan.
As a result of not having any calamity days left, Hillsdale Schools informed students and parents that the district will switch to online education whenever in-person learning is not possible because of unsafe weather conditions.
“We’ve got that plan in place so that instruction continues and the kids are getting what they need,” said Dr. Trevathan.
The superintendent says teachers in the district learned a lot about online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic and she is confident that the virtual model will work if it becomes necessary later in the school year.
The virtual model was tested last week, when the district switched to online classes as a result of the sixth snow day of the school year.
“The kids had rigorous assignments and they were working. They had a lot of good questions and so I think it was a good plan, but it’s still best to be in the classroom and that’s what we try to do,” said Dr. Trevathan.
The superintendent says the district is aware that some parents are concerned about how virtual education can impact a child’s learning and socialization, but she points out that online learning should only be needed in very limited circumstances for the rest of the school year.