The rising sun and a heavy fog create an eerie scene in Fulton County. The fog influences whether school will be called off on any day.
FAYETTE - This winter will be remembered in Fayette for blankets of fog, rather than drifts of snow.
Morning after morning after morning last week, fog shrouded the Fayette area, causing motorists to slow down and schools to shut down.
Gorham Fayette schools called off classes four days last week, prompting school officials to discuss the possibility of adopting a three-hour delay/one-hour school day extension option.
Across Fulton County, school districts delayed classes and canceled classes as the fog rolled in and out of the area. Most students in the county will be going to school in June to make up for the lost time in the classrooms because of weather-related closings, including "snow days" earlier this winter.
Brent Welker, high school principal in the Gorham Fayette district, said he'd never seen anything like the fog last week. The only time that he's heard of this kind of cold weather with lingering fog is from veterans of World War II's Battle of the Bulge.
"I never remember missing more than two days because of the fog," Mr. Welker said, noting that delays and cancellations because of fog typically occur in the fall or spring. "It's really odd," he said, for a district to close down four days in a row for fog in the winter.
A three-hour delay might have prevented the cancellation of an entire day of school on one or two of those days, but three hours wouldn't have mattered last Friday, Mr. Welker said. By 10:30 that day, fog was still rolling in and out of the district.
At left is a typical sign, this one at Archbold Elementary.
Pettisville Schools have a three-hour delay option, an option put into use last Thursday. The school day is extended an hour when there is a three-hour delay, said Superintendent Stephen Switzer. Pettisville had five fog calamity situations last week with three two-hour delays; one three-hour delay, and one cancellation.
"Our three-hour delay and one-hour extension worked well" last Thursday, said Mr. Switzer, adding "I have had several inquiries from area schools about how we do it."
"One three-hour delay and one-hour extension worked well" last Thursday, said Mr. Switzer, adding "I have had several inquiries from several schools about how we do it."
The Ohio Department of Education requires that districts hold school for a minimum of 182 days said J.C. Benton, department spokesman. A total of five of the 182 days can be waived for "calamity days," which include closures resulting from hazardous weather, building damage, disease, or other temporary circumstances due to utility failure. If districts close more than five days, they must make the days up, Mr. Benton said.
As of last Friday, Archbold Area Schools had used six calamity days. In the Wauseon Exempted Village Schools, "we have missed seven days," said Superintendent Marc Robinson. The make-up days will be May 31 and June 1.
Swanton classes have been called off for six calamity days. The make up day is scheduled for President's Day, Feb. 21. Additional days off would be made up at the end of the school year.
The school year will be extended in the Pike-Delta-York district, too, where classes have been canceled eight days because of weather conditions.
Gorham Fayette's makeup days are set for the end of May and beginning of June. The district used its five calamity days by the end of January. Four fog days will need to be made up.
Pettisville has used five calamity days, but the district had six available because of an added day on the regular calendar, Mr. Switzer said.
Evergreen exceded its five calamity days and will add days to the end of the school year.