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Cold pushes Ohio schools near maximum on calamity days

DAYTON, Ohio – Many Ohio schools have canceled classes this week amid another round of extreme cold, pushing some past the number of days students are allowed to miss without having to attend makeup days at the end of the year.

Like many other districts in Ohio, most schools in the Dayton region have reached their maximum number of five calamity days, the Dayton Daily News (http://bit.ly/1eE6g7C ) reported. More than 15 schools in the region missed at least six days because of the weather.

“It’s a very, very strange year,” said Eric Herman, superintendent of Troy City Schools in western Ohio. “The extremes have been crazy.”

Chris Wolff, a spokeswoman for Cincinnati Public Schools, said the district has had four calamity days and was considering taking its fifth on Friday, when dangerous wind chills are expected.

“Spring needs to come,” Wolff said. “It’s only January and we’ve got a long way to go here.”

As districts across the state surpass their calamity days, some have begun allowing students to make up for the missed time with “blizzard bags,” which give them access to schoolwork either online or with hard copies.

John Charlton, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Education, said his children had their first “blizzard bag” day on Thursday after the Cambridge City School District in eastern Ohio reached its sixth calamity day.

“You can imagine the kids are not happy,” Charlton said.

Next school year, under changes approved by the Legislature, school districts will be allowed to track missed school time by hours instead of days.

That will allow districts to avoid tacking on additional days at the end of the year if they want, and instead add, for example, a half-hour to the end of a certain amount of regularly scheduled school days.

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