Remote learning policies put to the test during first snowfall of season

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PARMA, Ohio (WJW) – Revere Local Schools reversed its initial decision to cancel calamity days this school year and replace them with remote learning after parents voiced concern.

A district spokesperson said the decision made mid-November generated a lot of feedback from parents who called the year challenging enough and did not want to do remote learning if the district called a calamity day.

The decision to cancel school classes Tuesday when many children are already at home learning remotely is frustrating according to a Parma city schools parent who requested her name not be used. She said her child often goes to work with her to take remote classes there.

“I would have to call off work or try to find somebody or call them at 6 o’ clock in the morning inconvenience them in order to get a babysitter,” she said.

Parma City School District Superintendent Charles Smialek said the decision to cancel school completely or remain in remote learning due to inclement weather is about setting up the most people for success as possible.

“One of the things we’re monitoring is power, we still have significant segments in the community that don’t have power,” said Smialek. “…It’s not fair to the families who lost power to try to also say OK it’s a remote learning day.”

Fox 8 previously reported the district would call calamity days as needed during the winter.

Another consideration when deciding to teach remotely is how much notice can be given to families and staff in time to make necessary adjustments.

“It’s most important to be able to provide advance notice especially to our staff many of our teachers are coming in school to teach,” said Smialek.

“We really can’t tell them at 5 a.m. while their driveway is covered in snow by the way you’re teaching from home today. Maybe your materials are still at school, maybe some of the students who are still coming in maybe they’ve left materials as well … One third of teachers are still coming into school buildings but still a third of 800 is a significant number,” she said.

The Willoughby-Eastlake City Schools superintendent said the district is currently operating remotely and “weather is not an impediment to continuing education.”

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