GALLIA COUNTY — Students attending Gallia County Local Schools will have to wait an extra 30 minutes before going home each day.
Beginning April 7 and lasting until May 22, students attending River Valley and South Gallia middle and high schools, as well as Addaville, Hannan Trace, Southwestern and Vinton elementary schools, will release for the day a half-hour later than usual. It’s a move that was approved by the Gallia County Local Board of Education to help make up days lost because of the brutal winter.
All told, Gallia Local canceled school 17 times this year because of the weather.
“To make up three days, we needed 33 days with the additional half-hour,” Superintendent Jude Meyers said.
Instead of enjoying spring break, originally scheduled for April 17-18 and April 21-22, Gallia Local students will now only have April 18 as an off-day. Students will also attend school on May 6 (Election Day) and, instead of May 30, the last day of school for the year will now be June 2.
The state of Ohio normally allows school five calamity days each year. But on Wednesday, Gov. John Kasich signed legislation passed by the Ohio House and Senate earlier this month allowing schools to count four additional days as calamity days for time missed due to the winter’s extreme weather.
Meyers said the extra time they’ve added to each day between April 7 and May 22 won’t be wasted.
“The overwhelming response was that, because we lost so much instructional time, they value that opportunity to spend the extra time with the kids,” he said. “There’s just no trade-off to spending that kind of time with the kids. I’m very proud of the district and the decision to want to spend that time with kids, make up that seat time and help make sure that, in the midst of a pretty crazy winter, we’re meeting the needs of the kids.”
Meyers said the district’s new calamity schedule will not make everyone happy.
“We realize … it can be an inconvenience in some regard, but the law mandates that we have to make up that time,” he said.
Meyers said teachers and staff are already preparing how they will to use the extra 30 minutes each day.
“The teachers and the staff are excited about how they want to use that time,” he said. “In our elementary schools, they have spring tests coming up and that will give them extra time to work with those kids, do interventions and spend time making sure that they’re prepared.
“Our high school teachers have talked about doing some enrichment activities they normally wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do because they’re so tied into the state curriculum,” Meyers added. “They want to use that time to do some really stimulating and creative things for the kids.”