Ohio

Eye on Education

Superintendent Calls Snow Days a “No-Win” Situation

polarbear

KEVIN WARD / FLICKR

You might be feeling a little like this guy today.

Well, if you haven’t heard, it’s cold.

Really cold.

Schools are closed across the state, from Columbus to Cleveland,Toledo to Dayton.

While students and teachers could be enjoying two extra days to tack onto their holiday breaks, one Northeast Ohio superintendent knows that snow days aren’t necessarily ideal.

“It’s a no-win situation,” Akron Public Schools Superintendent David James said. “Because whenever we call a snow day, you’ll have kids who are happy, parents who are not, in some situations, because they have to find day care services for their kids.”

The Ohio Department of Education says each school district dictates their own policy on cancelling classes. But for the 2014-15 academic year, schools will be switching from a set number of days students have to be in the classroom to a number of hours. This could eliminate makeup days.

But for now, when a district does utilize one of those snow days, it’s not just the actual instruction students miss out on. Some low-income students rely on school provided lunches they can’t get when schools close, and after-school activities also are cancelled.

James said his district doesn’t provide any extra services, like replacement lunches, during snow days.

“It’s up to each parent to make sure they’re providing an appropriate environment at home for their kid,” he said.

For James, the main factor behind calling a snow day comes down to safety.

“It’s really a situation where we’re mainly concerned about the student’s safety and getting to and from school,” James said. “So those are some of the sacrifices that families will have to make, in terms of whether there’s going to be that free lunch and things like that, sometimes safety outweighs those factors for a day or two.”

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