Updates to blended and online learning
House Bill (H.B.) 110, signed into law by Governor DeWine on June 30, 2021, contains a revised definition for “blended learning” and a new provision for “online learning.”
What school districts should know:
- The legislature added a single word to the blended learning definition that significantly changes the concept. When H.B. 110 becomes effective on September 30, 2021, blended learning will require a “combination of time primarily in a supervised physical location away from home and online delivery.” Previously, blended learning contained no threshold for how much time needed to be spent at school.
- Online learning has a host of requirements, including, significantly, provision for internet at no cost to students.
- An information retrieval number (IRN) must be issued for an online learning program.
- An online learning declaration must be submitted by July 1 of the school year in which the program operates.
- As noted, this change will not be effective until after the school year starts. This may raise many questions for your school district. For example:
- How can a district submit an online learning declaration before September 30, 2021?
- How can a school start a blended learning program that will not exist in its current form by the end of September and start an online program or with different requirements once H.B. 110 becomes effective?
Additional guidance from the Ohio Department of Education is anticipated, which may assist in answering these questions. However, to begin navigating these difficult questions, districts will want to review all of the new online learning and blended learning requirements in H.B. 110 to determine how online programing may need to evolve for the upcoming school year to comply with the new law.