Earlier this week, the Ohio Department of Education released updated guidance on blended learning plans, clarifying that blended learning is not be used on an emergency or contingent basis, such as for illness-related or weather-related building closures, parent-teacher conferences, professional development days, or staffing shortages. Rather, districts may only use blended learning as part of an overall plan to provide instruction throughout the year.

Blended learning is defined in Ohio Revised Code 3301.079 as “the delivery of instruction in a combination of time primarily in a supervised physical location away from home and online delivery whereby the student has some element of control over time, place, path, or pace of learning and includes noncomputer-based learning opportunities.” The new guidance clarifies that unlike remote learning plans, which are no longer authorized after June 30, 2022, blended learning may not be used on a contingent basis during temporary school closures like calamity days.

Per Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) 3301-35-03, districts who wish to implement a blended learning plan must adopt specific policies and procedures outlining their blended learning plan, including detailing how the district plans to ensure it meets the minimum number of instructional hours for the school year. Districts intending to establish, continue or discontinue a blended learning plan are further required to submit to ODE a declaration form notifying the department of their intention. This form must be submitted by July 1 of the school year in which the plan will be implemented.

If your district is currently using or plans to use a blended learning model, and you think this plan might be impacted by the change, we encourage you to contact your legal counsel for guidance. For general questions about blended learning and the new guidance, you are welcome to contact the legal division at (855)-OSBA-LAW.

Capital Conference 2022

Capital Conference 2022 is upon us at last! We hope to see you here in Columbus starting this Sunday, November 13, at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. As always, the conference will offer many learning and networking opportunities for members that we hope you take advantage of. We in the legal division hope to see you at our annual School Law Workshop on Tuesday, November 15.

If you are planning to come to conference and have not done so, we encourage you to download the free Capital Conference app, where you will be able to find information about scheduling and can access handouts and other materials related to the sessions you attend. We will also send out updates using the app throughout the conference.

Posted by John R. Price on 11/11/2022