By Joseph Pratt
Summertime sadness is here, as students pack their backpacks and buses are loaded for the first time of the 2014-15 academic school year. The new school year comes bearing opportunity for thousands of young, local minds and a new change that students might be excited about. Ohio schools will be switching to a new form of counting attendance this year, which is to be monitored by hours instead of days.
The new attendance policy is in regards to minimum school hours per the entire building, and not individual student absences.
Under the new policy, most schools already have well over the required hours in their annual contracted schedule. So, when calamity days do occur, they are well covered and far from a crisis of extending their academic school year to make up for loss of time spent in class.
Last year’s policy gave the schools five excused calamity days for inclement weather.
Most schools will now possibly have around 20 days considered excused, which is based off of their hourly count being well covered in their scheduled school year.
The new change will be a relief to local schools, especially after last year’s heavy snowfall, which had every local school planning of ways to deal with the days missed from inclement weather. Students will also be able to enjoy their winter weather without much worry about their summer being tarnished with extra school days tacked onto May and June.
Included is a portion of a statement from the Ohio State Board of Education concerning the change, “Beginning in the 2014-2015 school year, minimum hours of instruction replace the long-standing calendar of school days for traditional school districts, joint vocational school districts and chartered nonpublic schools.
School districts, joint vocational school districts and chartered nonpublic schools must be open for instruction for a minimum of 455 hours for students in half-day kindergarten; 910 hours for students in full-day kindergarten through Grade 6; and 1,001 hours for students in Grades 7-12
Community schools must be open for instruction for at least 920 hours per year. This does not represent a change.”
The release continued on to say that regularly scheduled hours are considered when a school is in session, attending regularly scheduled classes, participating in regularly scheduled activities, participating in approved educational options, and participating in co-curricular activities during the scheduled school day.
Time that does not count as open instruction include lunch, breakfast, recess and extracurricular activities.
Portsmouth City Schools, New Boston Schools, Washington-Nile Local Schools, Green Local School District, Northwest Local School District, Minford Local Schools, and Bloom-Vernon are all scheduled to resume classes on Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014.
Wheelersburg Local School District, Notre Dame, and Valley Local Schools return to class on Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014.
Scioto County Career and Technical Center requires juniors to be in class on Tuesday, Aug. 19, but requires the remainder of their students to be in class on Wednesday, Aug. 20.
Clay Local School District is scheduled to return to class on Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014.
Sciotoville Community Schools is scheduled to return to class on Monday, Aug. 25, 2014. The school has an open house scheduled for Aug. 21.
Greenup High School began their fall semester on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014.
Joseph Pratt can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1932.