The doors of schools may have been locked on Tuesday but students were still in class — just at home. (DHI Media/Nancy Spencer)
The doors of schools may have been locked on Tuesday but students were still in class — just at home. (DHI Media/Nancy Spencer)
It’s the announcement every school-age child waits for on a snowy evening or early morning — school is closed!

That may all change with the emergence of virtual classrooms and learning Ohio school districts instituted once the COVID-19 pandemic set in.

Delphos City Schools has used its five calamity days and will go to virtual instruction when in-person classes cannot be held.

“This is an opportunity COVID brought to us,” Delphos City Schools Superintendent Doug Westrick said Tuesday morning. “Our students and teachers can work from home and we don’t have to worry about make-up days any more.”

Westrick said the district uses a mix of paper/pencil and virtual learning, depending on the grade.

“Our elementary teachers put together five lessons in the fall for situations like this and those students work with paper and pencil,” he explained. “Middle school students have a hybrid learning system and our high school students are fully remote.”

Elementary students just need to complete the work and have several days once back in session to turn it in. Middle school and high school students need to log on their computers or devices by 10 a.m. to get their instructions for the day.

“While students and teachers are still responsible for the work getting done, it’s much more flexible than in-person learning,” Westrick noted. “We saw from our experiences with quarantining, etc., that our teachers and families do fairly well with the virtual learning.”

Ottoville Superintendent Scott Mangas said Putnam County Schools got together and decided virtual learning was going to be used when scheduled days of school were missed.

“Virtual learning probably had killed snow days,” he said. “Last March and April when we started the virtual learning we all talked and agreed it was a good option.”

All Ottoville students have their own devices from the school and were asked to take them home last Friday. Students did not have school on Monday due to the observance of President’s Day.

Ottoville’s virtual school day runs on the 2-hour delay schedule with classes starting at 10 a.m. and ending at 3 p.m. Classes are 30 minutes long and are up to the teacher’s discretion how they are structured. Some classes may just be a reading assignment while others are a video or instruction from the teacher. Students can log on to Schoology in the morning and access their schedule.

“This is right before we start state testing, too, so it means a little more to have the kids learning as many days as possible,” Mangas said.