INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (WJW) — Northeast Ohio’s first big snowfall of the season has brought the first snow day of the school year but with many districts already operating remotely because of COVID-19 will snow days become a reality?
“Snow days may be harder to get or to land but they’re not quite extinct yet,” said Ben Hegedish, superintendent of Independence Local Schools.
Hegedish says snowfall this week would be irrelevant for the district since they are operating remotely this week. He said calamity days due to cold weather that can be predicted well in advance would be remote learning days but on days where heavy snow accumulation is expected there’s a different plan.
“If it’s a morning where I’m up at four in the morning and there’s accumulation and the snow is such that driving on the road is dangerous then that would just be a snow day,” said Hegedish.
An Akron Public Schools spokesperson said union members are not required to work on calamity days. “Since we have had online learning platforms for quite some time, our students can be given online assignments to be completed, on snow days, without their teachers being present.
In Elyria, a district spokesperson said, “We are already teaching virtually so should be no issues.” Remote learning will continue there through Jan. 22.
Wadsworth City Schools Superintendent Andy Hill said they are operating with 80 percent of students attending class in-person.
“We’re still in-person with our students for learning right now so our intention would be if the weather conditions doesn’t allow for school we would still call a calamity day,” said Hill.
He added the district is considering a possible switch to remote learning due to increasing COVID cases in Medina County. The county is currently on the watch list for Level 4 or purple on Ohio’s Public Health Advisory Alert System indicating severe exposure and spread of COVID-19.
“Haven’t really given a lot of thought to what happens with a calamity day if everybody is in the remote world but that may be something we need to take a look at,” said Hill.
A spokesperson for Euclid City Schools said they do not anticipate any cold or snow days because students are learning virtually. The district will remain in a virtual learning environment through the stay-at-home advisory and for several days in January.
Norton City Schools Superintendent Dana Addis said no final decisions have been made regarding snow days.
“If the district and the teachers believe that too much educational time has elapsed during a snow or cold event, then we will connect with our families on making a “snow day” an educational day. Right now, we have not made the determination that a snow day is anything but a snow day,” said Addis.
Back in Independence, there’s hope students will soon return to classrooms in-person and snow days, when they come, can be celebrated.
“Hopefully we can get back to a reality where we get excited about snow days and kids are putting ice cubes in the toilets and wearing their pajamas backwards; those are fun for everybody,” said Hegedish.
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