Blizzard Bag Information

Blizzard Bag Information &
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here is what you can expect if a Blizzard Bag day is called:

1. The day before: Communication from the Superintendent about the potential of a Blizzard Bag day will go out to parents, educators, and students the day before,

2. Announcement: Since not every school cancellation will be a Blizzard Bag day, I will indicate whether a snow day is a Blizzard Bag day when I make the all-call announcement about the cancellation the morning of the Blizzard Bag day,

3. Teacher support: Educators will be available to support students via email between 8:00 AM and 12:00 PM,

4. Workload: Students will receive approximately 25-40 minutes of work in each content area,

5. Online access and hard copies of assignments: Though most students and educators have online access at home, students will have the opportunity to bring home hard copies of the assignments if they choose. Many of our elementary teachers will be providing hard copies of student work for the students’ and parents’ convenience,

6. Support after the Blizzard Bag day: Students will have an opportunity to communicate with their teachers after they return from a Blizzard Bag day to ensure that they get any support that they might need.

7. Additional student support: Teacher teams are collaborating with case managers and support staff to ensure that students receive the assistance that they need to complete the work.

8. Communication after the Blizzard Bag day: The District will let the School Community know if they met the attendance requirement (80%) and send out surveys to various stakeholders in an effort to evaluate how the Blizzard Bag day went.

What is a Blizzard Bag?

According to Ed 306.18 (7), a Blizzard Bag is instruction that can happen “remotely” when “school has been closed due to inclement weather or other emergency.” The state educational rule also states that, “Academic work shall be equivalent in effort and rigor to typical classroom work.” If 80 percent of all of the students in the school district complete the work, the Blizzard Bag day counts as a school day that does not need to be made up.

Why are we using Blizzard Bags in Gilford?

The abundance of cancellations over the past few years has caused significant scheduling challenges and interruptions to teaching and learning in schools across the state and the region. The the revolution in online resources and digital technology has allowed school districts to support teaching and learning “anytime” and “anywhere.” These modes of learning allow for students to engage in experiences that will help prepare them for college, career, and life after school.

Is every snow day a Blizzard Bag day?

No. There will be traditional snow days. If the time of year and/or the extenuating circumstances could impact Blizzard Bags adversely, there may be cases where school is cancelled with no Blizzard Bags.

How will I know if there is a Blizzard Bag day?

The Superintendent will inform the school community the day before a potential Blizzard Bag day. If school is cancelled on the following day, the Superintendent will confirm that the Blizzard Bags will be used on that day via email and the all-call system.

What if the student cannot do an assignment because they don't have online access at home?

According to surveys that were sent out, over 98 percent of parents and educators have Internet access in their homes. Personal hotspots can be set up in homes. The District has some hot spots for student use that can be signed out from our schools. Teachers will provide hard (paper) copies to any student who does not have online access.

What can I expect child to work on in a Blizzard Bag?

Students will be given assignments and activities in all of their content areas that are related to what is being taught in their classrooms. They will be able to access their assignments and activities on Google Classroom or will be given paper copies of work to bring home.

What do teachers do on Blizzard Bag days?

Blizzard Bag days are school days for teachers as well. Teachers will be available to students via email between 8:00 AM and 12:00 noon on Blizzard Bag days if students have questions or need assistance. Additionally, they will be developing plans, assessing student work, conducting research, engaging in professional development, collaborating with colleagues online, and more. Most importantly, the staff is available to support students on these days.

How long will it take a student to complete the Blizzard Bag?

Assignments or activities should take 25 to 40 minutes per content area or 3-4 hours for all of the work to be done for the day.

What if students need help or has questions on Blizzard Bag days?

Students should contact their teachers via email if they have any questions or need support.

What if the student usually gets assistance from a Special Education teacher, English Language Learner (ELL) teacher, or other educator that provides support?

These staff members will modify Blizzard Bags according to the needs of their students. They will also check in with students to ensure that they are making progress and provide assistance as necessary.

What if the student does not complete the Blizzard Bag day assignments?

Attendance is based on students completing the work. If a student has a misunderstanding about an assignment, they should contact their teacher or building administrator directly.

How will attendance be taken?

Teachers will report how many of their students completed their activities and/or assignments. After all of that data has been collected, the Administration will determine what percentage of students completed the Blizzard Bag day work to see if 80 percent did so to ensure that the day will count,

How many Blizzard Bag days will be called in the year?

The State allows school districts to use five (5) Blizzard Bag days. In the first year, the District will “start small” so that educators can assess the quality of teaching and learning on these days.

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