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Southeast Wisconsin school districts navigate snow days in virtual, pandemic-era

Posted at 9:20 PM, Jan 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-25 23:22:27-05

MILWAUKEE — With significant snow set to roll through town, some people are wondering what does a snow day looks like in today’s time.

TMJ4 News made contact with a number of school districts to find out how they plan to navigate educating after Monday’s snowfall.

Some schools have started bringing students back in for learning, while others are planning to do so soon. The COVID-19 pandemic is shifting American life in many ways. In time, even nature's traditions, like snow days, could be a thing of the past.

"We'll have to see how this goes, but I think we may be at a place where we can weatherproof our learning system,” said Dr. Bryan Davis, Superintendent of the Shorewood School District.

Davis said video technology like Zoom will help the district continue its lesson plan, with or without inches of snow on the ground. Monday marked the first in-person learning day for elementary school students in Shorewood schools. Tuesday, however, will not be a snow day, but a virtual learning day for those students.

"They don't need to come to school, but also making some arrangements for those students to continue their learning through some virtual models,” Davis said.

Other districts, like St. Francis School District and Milwaukee Public Schools, also planned to continue their virtual learning efforts.

The School District of Waukesha sent a letter to parents, saying it plans to allow kids to take a deep breath on snow days, as they are rare. The district only plans for four a year.

Over at Racine Christian School, students are six days back at it with in-person learning. It's likely Tuesday would be a snow day, if students can't make it into class, an answer he expects by 5 a.m. that morning.

"It would be a true snow day since so many of our families relied on the school technology in order to accomplish virtual,” said Principal Pete Vanderpuy.

Superintendent Davis said virtual learning days will also help reduce make-up days at the end of the year which would mark a silver lining for students.

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