Give added calamity days to Ohio schools

In the wake of subzero temperatures and several snow storms, local school districts may get a break when it comes to snow days.

Ohio legislators are considering whether to give three or four extra calamity days for this school year, given the harsh winter conditions.

We think it’s something that should pass.

It’s the last year that Ohio districts will have to worry about instruction days, as next year what will count will be instruction hours for the year, an area where our local schools are already well above the minimums.

While there have been days this winter that some of us have thought schools could have re-opened, it’s true that there have been extreme conditions and administrators have had to make tough judgment calls. They have to consider the most out-of-the-way unpaved roads and children who have to wait at bus stops in arctic temperatures.

While missing any days of education isn’t ideal, we don’t think an additional three of four days is going to make or break the educational experience of a child.

Teachers have a rough road ahead, trying to get students focused again and back on track in time for required testing and, simply to squeeze in everything they should gain knowledge of in an academic year.

But we feel confident they can do it, with or without more excused days.

We do agree with the local school officials who are asking that required testing in the spring be pushed back slightly to allow for more instructional time before students take the test.

If more calamity days aren’t approved and districts have to make up all the days off they’ve taken (above the five initially approved in the state) it can cost the school systems money they can’t really afford, as they have to pay staff for additional time. Often, contracts require extra pay in those cases.

It also becomes an inconvenience for families, who have made travel plans or child care arrangements.

We hope the Ohio legislature votes in favor of a measure allowing more days, and that Mother Nature takes it easy on the state in the last weeks of winter.