So last week’s lost school days are easily handled, said officials from Lakota Schools, which is the largest district in Butler County.
“Lakota’s academic calendar takes possible calamity days into consideration. Our students attend well above the minimum number of hours required by the state,” said Betsy Fuller, spokesperson for the 16,500-student district.
The Ohio Department of Education requires 910 hours each school year for students in full-day kindergarten through grade 6 and 1,001 hours for students in grades 7-12.
Lakota requires a minimum of 1,126.74 classroom hours for grades 1-6 and 1082.24 hours for grades 10-12.
Dawn Gould, spokesperson for Kings Schools in southern Warren County, said changing from “snow days” to instructional hours “allows for flexibility for local districts and it somewhat takes the worry out of the (former) number of days restraint.”
“It is also helpful because it allows a move from a one-size-fits-all to what works best for our local districts,” said Gould, who added that Kings’ grades 7-12 go 136.5 hours more than required by the state.
“The district has a substantial built-in reserve to accommodate multiple delays or closures each school year if needed,” she said. “Should we, at some point, fall below the required minimum hours due to unscheduled school closings or delays, additional hours/days will be added to the current schedule. Hopefully, that will never be the case.”
According to the Ohio Department of Education, “if a school closes enough that it will fall below the minimum number of hours, the school must extend its scheduled year.”
But school families will get plenty of notice if that happens, according to ODE’s policy stating “a traditional school district board of education (not applicable to joint vocational school districts) must hold a public hearing at least 30 days prior to adopting its school schedule.”
The weather also impacted schools because it led to the cancellation of after-school activities and rescheduling of school athletic games.
“Any elementary and middle school activities would have been cancelled,” said Joni Copas, spokesperson for Hamilton Schools.
“But the high school looks at each of their events and activities individually. We were able to play Hamilton High School basketball games this weekend,” said Copas of the school that last month also lost an additional school day to a water main break.
The near-record cold also impacted many beyond school campus boundaries. Several Butler County restaurants closed Wednesday because of the bitter weather, and many of them that opened reported softer sales.
Duke Energy officials said it’s too early to determine if customers’ utility bills will be higher because of the cold snap.