PLAISTOW — There is still much work for the school district to do before it decides whether students who stay home on snow days will be able to participate in the state Blizzard Bag program.
Superintendent Earl Metzler said the district is looking at plans and conducting a survey of parents, students and teachers to determine the feasibility of the program, which would count snow days as regular school days if a certain percentage of students complete the prescribed amount of work.
In most cases, there isn’t an actual bag of assignments that students are forced to trudge home with through the snow but assignments that can be accessed online.
If 80 percent of the students in the district complete the assignments handed out for the snow days, then it qualifies as a day of school and an additional day is not added to the end of the school year.
Although many of the assignments can be accessed online, the state also requires that there are opportunities for students who may not have Internet access.
The deadline for the application to the state to take part in the program this year is Nov. 1. Depending on how things go over the next week or so, Metzler said the district could be ready to apply for this year or wait until next year.
“We want to make sure we do this right,” he said.
Doing it right means the survey is completed, there is support from all the stakeholders, and the School Board has approved an attendance policy tied to the Blizzard Bag program.
“This may be for next fall, or we might have it just in case we need it,” said Metzler. “So it’s not automatic that we will have blizzard bags on the first day we have snow. We need to get the surveys out, get the policy to the policy committee, and put the plan together.”
As it gets closer to Nov. 1, Metzler said administrators will be able to decide whether the district will be ready to make a comprehensive application to the state.
School Board member Peter Bealo said he read about the Blizzard Bag program a little over a year ago.
“Other districts use it and it seems like it makes a lot of sense,” he said. “I’m glad you folks are looking at it.”