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Guidance for online day plans


The budget bill made changes to Ohio’s calamity day statute. The budget bill changes replace the use of blizzard bags starting this school year. The budget bill changes are effective on Oct. 3, 2023. The Department encourages school districts, community schools, chartered nonpublic schools and STEM schools to adopt or amend their calamity day plans by Nov. 1, 2023.

It should be noted that any school that uses a blended learning model or operates an online learning school is not eligible under the statute to use an online day plan.

What are online days?

Online day plans are an alternative to making up hours due to school closure under several circumstances. Schools or districts may use an online day plan to make up the equivalent of up to three school days via online delivery under allowable scenarios.

What are the allowable uses for online days?

An online day plan may be used to make up hours in a school year for circumstances necessary to close schools. The circumstances specified in law are:
  • Disease epidemic;
  • Hazardous weather conditions;
  • Law enforcement emergencies;
  • Inoperability of school buses or other equipment necessary to the school's operation;
  • Damage to a school building; or
  • Other temporary circumstances due to utility failure rendering the school building unfit for use.
Please note that the statute does not include in the list of eligible circumstances: staffing shortages, parent-teacher conferences or professional development days.

What are the required components of an online day plan? 

Each plan should be designed to ensure continuity of learning for students during a school closure. Each school or district is required to adopt an online day plan by Aug. 1 of each school year. The plan must include all of the following:
  1. A statement that the school or district, to the extent possible, will provide for teacher-directed synchronous learning in which the teacher and students are interacting in real time on a virtual learning platform during the closure;
  2. The school or district’s attendance requirements, including how the school will document participation in learning opportunities and how the school will reach out to students to ensure engagement during the closure;
  3. A description of how equitable access to quality instruction will be ensured, including how the school or district will address the needs of students with disabilities, English learners, and other vulnerable student populations;
  4. The process the school or district will use to notify staff, students and parents that it will be using online delivery of instruction;
  5. Information on contacting teachers by telephone, email or a virtual learning platform during the closure;
  6. A description of how the school or district will meet the needs of staff and students regarding internet connectivity and technology for online delivery of instruction.
  7. The written consent of the teachers' union representative.