No More Snow Days

By fhntoday editorial board

FHSD can eliminate snow days. As more and more districts across the country turn to ‘e-learning’ and ‘online’ days, rather than snow days, the State and District should look into this option. Instead of shutting down schools in severe weather situations, these districts are using technology to hold classes online.

This may seem like a daunting task for a large district, but the benefits would be worth the extensive planning. There is less disruption in the class schedule, and teachers can push forward with lessons that must be completed before EOC, AP, and MAP testing, test dates that don’t move regardless of snow days. Even if this means shuffling agendas to make snow day lessons online-friendly, it’s better than having no lesson at all and falling further behind. Online snow make-up days also eliminate the need for make-up days tacked onto the end of the year and over spring break when families have already scheduled events and attendance is low. With an online day, the District saves the money it costs to operate schools on make-up days while students are still learning.

editorial cartoon by brandon macias
editorial cartoon by brandon macias

On a snow day, teachers would need to post their lesson for the day on their school website by mid-morning. Because snow days are rarely a surprise, teachers could already be prepared for this and post earlier in the day. Since it counts as a school day, teachers would need to be available online via email or other sites they are incorporating into their lessons to answer questions and collaborate with students throughout the day. At the elementary level, lessons are more flexible and teachers could have specific sites students are already familiar with to use on snow days. Students who don’t have Internet or computer access at home can rent laptops at the secondary level or be given time in the library the following day at the elementary level.

Online learning days themselves are learning experiences. More and more, students are going to be asked to utilize technology and find online solutions in college and the world of work. Using and understanding these technologies will help them in their future and make them stronger competitors in the workforce. Whether it’s comfortable for 100 percent of students or not, it’s how the world works in 2014 and the District and State have a responsibility to prepare their students for this tech-centered future.

This is not far-fetched at all. Websites like Schoology, Canvas, Google Docs and Blackboard are already equipped to handle this and are already in use in many District schools. Districts across the U.S. have already implemented this idea and have successfully continued using it with little opposition from students. Some have had so much success that they’ve even expanded online learning days to be a regular part of the school calendar. Kids can still have their fun in the snow, if there is any, but will also complete lessons to avoid losing days off of summer vacation. It’s time to rethink what a snow day is and how technology can eliminate them altogether.