DERRY — Elementary and middle school students in Derry may soon have a chance to keep up with their classroom assignments when the weather prevents school buses from rolling.
The Derry School Board approved a measure to explore the possibility of putting a blizzard bag program in place next year.
The program gives students classroom work to do at home in case of a day off from school due to inclement weather or other emergencies. The plan is designed to keep district snow days to a minimum.
Superintendent Laura Nelson said she is excited about the program and wants to put a pilot plan in place.
“I’ve heard a lot of positives about blizzard bags; it gives students the opportunity to learn at home on a snowy day,” Nelson said. “We would need to develop a program and follow a few rules before doing it.”
The blizzard bag idea came up in 2009 and the state Department of Education opened up the option to all school districts.
The Kearsarge Regional School District was the first to implement the program. Nelson said she and a team representing Derry visited that school district.
“We left them ready to get this program started,” Nelson said. “We walked out with a lot of information. We have a lot of resources on how to structure and develop what we want our program to look like.”
There is a specific course to follow. That includes having School Board approval, then submitting a proposal and application to the state.
There has to be an 80 percent participation rate among the students for the day to count.
Nelson said parents, teachers and staff were surveyed to get their thoughts on blizzard bags.
She said support was favorable for trying the program in Derry schools.
The state allows a district to apply for up to five days to use as blizzard bag days.