After hearing some complaints about his decision, Troy Superintendent Chris Piper gave a detailed response, explaining that his district used its traditional “calamity days” at the beginning of the year for staff training on COVID safety and online education.
“If we completely closed schools without remote learning during the winter when the weather got bad, we would fall below the number of state-mandated hours we teach students per year and would have to add on days to the end of the year,” Piper said. “We understand the awe and wonderment of traditional snow days, but we also have an obligation to both educate our students, while also keeping them safe.”
In Centerville, students and staff were given Tuesday off. But some parents were more concerned about Wednesday, which is a regularly scheduled online learning day, because their students’ computers had been left at school Monday. District officials were trying to offer ways for families to pick up those Chromebooks from their school.
Schools that did maintain online classes Tuesday took a variety of approaches. In Oakwood, it was fairly teacher-driven. District officials said lessons would be posted for each class via email or in Google Classroom by 10 a.m. “Teachers will communicate specific expectations for the day with students and families,” the schools said.
Dayton Public Schools told students to log in on their usual schedules Tuesday, and asked teachers and aides to teach from home rather than from their classrooms as they usually would. Teachers union President David Romick said teachers were prepared because of discussions in recent weeks about taking home computers and instructional materials if bad weather was expected.
Miami East schools made Tuesday an “eDay” with students’ assignments posted to Google Classroom, while across the county at Milton-Union, Tuesday was their last free “calamity day.” Superintendent Brad Ritchey reminded families that Milton’s next call-off for snow or cold would be a remote-learning day, sending out detailed time schedules and procedures for connecting with teachers.
In Troy, some parents called for a true snow day, but others said the result might be adding hot June days onto the end of the year, in schools without air conditioning. Piper said there’s no way to make everyone happy. He said students have been taking their Chromebooks back and forth from home to school daily so they’re available, and teachers have been reminding them of snow day protocols.
“(Students’) safety will always be our first priority, but we also have to balance that with the need to educate them,” Piper said. “Unfortunately, the answer we arrive at when forced to make that choice seldom makes everyone happy.”