Make-up days no added cost to school district

Schools have a maximum of three "Blizzard Bag" days.
Joe Centers
Feb 5, 2014


With the Norwalk City Schools sitting at nine calamity days thus far, barring any help from the state, students will have to make up three of those days.

But at what cost?

Schools Superintendent Dennis Doughty said while employees are paid for snow days, they -- like the students -- have to make them up. Those employees will not get extra pay for make-up days, Doughty said.

"They are expected to work the 184 days, minus those first five days (which do not have to be made up)," Doughty said. "Most of our employees fall into that. They don't get any additional pay. They are make-up days for everybody. People are paid to work a certain amount of days. "

While most of the salaries are covered, snow days don't come without some expense.

"The additional costs are when you have to bring the people in on the snow days to clean the parking lots and you still have to heat the buildings," he said. "You need it in anticipation of having school. You still have that day-to-day expense."

Gov. John Kasich recently urged the Ohio General Assembly and Ohio Department of Education to work together on legislation providing a one-time increase in the number of days that schools can take off because of snow or bad weather. Kasich said a one-time increase of just a few days is needed since so many Ohio school districts have used -- or are close to using -- their five allowable "calamity" days due to the unusually severe winter weather this year.

Doughty said it would be great if the schools got some help from the state, but the winter is far from over.

"We always figure we will have one (calamity) day in March and two in February," he said. "That is typical. We hope that doesn't happen, but we will take it one day at a time."

The school board passed a resolution adopting a "Blizzard Bag" policy as an alternative for making up calamity days, and today is the first day students are utilizing that arrangement.

Students are able to go to the school district website to recent their assignments and have two weeks to make them up. Students without Internet access will receive the list of assignments the first day they return to school and have up to two weeks from that point to finish the work.

"It is not the best alternative, but it is better than what we have now," Doughty said.

Students are counted as having "attended" school once they complete their assignments.

"If they don't complete it, they're absent," Doughty told the board.

Fifty percent of the students who finish their assignments are needed to make one "Blizzard Bag" day count for the district.

Doughty said schools have a maximum of three "Blizzard Bag" days.

The President's Day holiday scheduled for later this month already has been eliminating, so students will make up one of the calamity days then.

If state legislators don't allow for more than five calamity days this year, then Norwalk will tack on any make-up days at the end of the school year.




These online "blizzard bag" assignments are nearly impossible. My son goes to an area high school and they began their blizzard bag assignments last week. This morning, my son began working on his for today: 1 assignment for each class -he's got 7 diff classes per day so 7 assignments in all= 1 school day. He started working on them at 9am this morning..has done them nonstop and now it's 7:30pm and he's STILL not done. I know how tempting it is to say stuff like "he must be slow" or "he's not really trying" or "well its better than going to school" etc... My son is an all A student (he really is and works real hard for that)-these online assignments are extremely time-consuming and take FOREVER. Just beware-- don't think your son/daughter can get them done in an evening (or even on a weekend when combined with regular homework assignments). Prob after our kids do all this extra stuff the state will decide none of it needs to be done after all -its a joke.


P.S. Norwalk teachers maybe take this tip: Please remember each student has SEVEN different classes worth of assignments...not just your class. If your assignment takes 3 hours for the student to complete and they have 6 more teachers who create 3 hour assignments, then HOW many hours will it take for them to do 1 Blizzard Bag Day? 21 HOURS.... yes 21 hours of nonstop work!

Maybe do the Norwalk students a favor and keep your assignments to 1 hour per class? (thats still 7 hours of work mind you!)I know, they have 2 weeks to get it done but if they've got 3 blizzard bag days (at 3 hrs per class/21 hrs per day) thats 63 hrs of homework! LOL! I do realize this sounds kinda dramatic but it's actually happening down here in southern Huron county...

Things are MUCH different in theory than they are in practice

(And to think we used to go sledding on snow days lol!)


We have not even had Blizzard bags approved for our school, but a teacher that thinks she doesn't need approval. She has sent home 5 days worth of work that she WANTS done. Self taught, and then a quiz when you come back. Told the kids, if you can't understand it, ask your parents if they can't help you we will need to figure out why you can't read! Yes I understand the are high school kids. They need to learn. We also know that many of our children have OUT LEARNED us! Why are the blizzard bags "longer lessons" that regular classes? And how can there be a quiz over information that is self taught and possibly not understood? From what I understand if not enough kids do the work, these bags do not even count? Then what, the ones that suffered thru and did the work, did it for nothing? That doesn't seem fair. How well were these thought out?


Hi Lady,
Yes I agree 100% and I was thinking the same things! It's true: if not enough kids do them then they dont essence the school day isn't "forgiven" if not enough do them. So what will happen then? My son will have wasted all this time doing the assignments and they wont count for anything and THEN he will have to go extra days into the summer too? My son's assignments range from doing Geometry problems (which are fine but theres a LOT of them: wayyy more than 1 class period) - to writing 3 different reports for English --doing another paper on Adobe Reader for computer class --then ANOTHER report for history class --etc etc Why didn't the teachers realize they're ALL giving 3 page reports that include "research this topic" ?? I'm certainly not the kind of parent who thinks my son "deserves" (anything) or is "entitled" (to not do work) --thats why he's doing it but I am quite sure few kids will do any of this work...


This teacher needs fired period! School is school and home is home! Period!


That's OK, I will let my child have the absent day before I let him work on some dumb "blizzard bag". My child is an A student and already has enough homework. I am not going to add more work to his caseload just because of a snow day.


That will be the problem....the A + B students will do the work for fear of losing the grades and ruining their grade point averages...and then the other kids will not do the work so it will not count anyway. Do the schools really think enough kids will sit and do XXX many hours of this work to make it count? Between sports, regular homework, kids with jobs, etc.? I would rather just do the make up days at the end of the year, honestly.


The students don't actually mind making up the days in the summer, its the teachers. While the students are working hours and hours online doing homework, what are the teachers doing on these days?


Students have 2 weekes to complete 1 blizzard bag folks! It doesnt have to be done in 1 day!!!


I am not in the Norwalk school district. My children have a teacher that sent home her own version of it, without BOARD APPROVAL because she told the kids she didn't need it! They have 3-5 days of work to be done in 2 days and then a quiz when they get back!


@fedup2....The teachers use this "free" day to plan more lessons, grade papers, and put grades into the online gradebook. It really isn't a free day at all. Teachers are still held accountable to have all the material necessary for success on the OAAs taught by the middle of April. It doesn't matter how many snow days have been taken. Also, it is my understanding that the blizzard bag work must be graded and every class must have that tangible piece of evidence for the missed day.


Bittch bittch bittch bittch bittch.


I believe there is absolutely no way to make EVERYONE happy.... If you feel there is, could you relay your thoughts to the administration?