How COVID-19 could make school snow days a thing of the past

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The first snowfall of the season means school delays and even some school cancellations. But the question is, why cancel if there is a virtual learning option for students?

School districts are now finding new ways to navigate what used to be a snow day and keep the kids engaged from home.

“They looked out the window and said, ‘Oh, it’s not enough snow,’” said Ed Moore, a guardian of three students.

Moore’s children have been learning virtually for a while and it’s clear how they feel about it.

“They are over it,” he said.

Moore said having a snow day, despite the children having the ability to learn at home, is still important.

“A snow day that provides a mental break in a situation where students are already mentally fatigued by some of this is necessary,” he said.

That’s exactly what central Ohio school districts are trying to figure out: when to call it and when to keep the students engaged online.

“We can do the remote learning regardless of what the weather’s like,” said Mike McDonough, deputy superintendent of Hilliard City Schools.

Hilliard City Schools is embracing what they have learned during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think there is a balance, you know,” McDonough said. “There is certainly joy in a snow day. We all loved those growing up, but it is important for us as much as we can to engage with students.”

But over in Olentangy Local School District, it was business as usual Tuesday when the district decided on a two-hour delay.

“We’re still able to take those days and give the kids something to look forward to, something normal,” said Krista Davis, communications director for the Olentangy Local School District.

Reynoldsburg City Schools sent a statement to families saying, “While Reynoldsburg City Schools is in the virtual learning model, students will continue participating in their online instruction on any days of inclement weather.”

And in Pickerington, they will also be using virtual learning in place of calamity days.

But for Moore, he said it’s more than just a mental break for the students.

“Snow days allow the kids to earn some money and do those things to help the community,” he said. “It builds a sense of community.”

Safety remains the number one priority for all the districts. so each weather event is monitored and decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.

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