How Schools Deal With Closures Changes Over Time, Take A Look Back To 1977


UPDATED: Wednesday January 8, 2014 11:23 AM

While most schools in Franklin County and surrounding counties closed during this blast of polar weather, the Metro Early College High School expected its 521 students in class...even if they weren't in the classroom.  

Interim Principal Meka Pace declared a virtual school day. Teachers and kids connected by a computer app and classes continued over the internet. (WATCH THE STORY HERE)

But 37 years ago, there was no internet.

In 1977, there was a shortage of natural gas. There was enough natural gas to heat homes and some businesses, but not enough for schools. The gas shortage coincided with one of the coldest winters on record in Franklin County.

Some parents of today's students were students themselves during a month-long experiment in education despite deep cold.

Some districts, like Bexley, had just enough fuel to keep the pipes from freezing, so they shrank the school day to an hour and a half, with plenty of homework.

Starting February 7 that year, Columbus City Schools closed for a month. 10TV's General Manager Gene D'Angelo, turned over the morning airwaves to the Columbus district.  

Every half hour for four hours, teachers taught a different grade, while kids watched at home.  The Columbus Dispatch devoted two pages of the weekday paper to lessons prepared by the Ohio Department of Education.

Once a week, the classes met in surprisingly places, courtesy of the generosity of local businesses. Teachers held class in restaurants, banks, even taverns.  

It was called "School Without Schools" and attracted the attention of educators and the media from across the nation.

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