Will virtual learning in Northeast Ohio eliminate the need for traditional snow days?

Will virtual learning in Northeast Ohio eliminate the need for traditional snow days?

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Nearly all schools in Northeast Ohio have some form of virtual learning; but how will that impact traditional snow days?

19 News reached out to the Cleveland Metropolitan School District for clarity on their plans but a spokesperson did not respond to our request. Nor did Akron City Schools.

In anticipation of severe weather conditions, all CMSD meal sites will be closed on Tuesday, Dec. 1, a press release said. Weekly and daily food distributions normally scheduled for Tuesday will be moved to Wednesday.

Both districts are currently operating remotely.

St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood is operating remotely too.

“For the immediate future, since all our learning right now is virtual, we would not call a snow day,” said spokesperson Lisa Metro.

Once St. Igantius returns to in-person learning, which is planned for January, things could change.

“Should we close school due to bad weather, it would be a snow day. In other words, we would not turn to virtual learning for a day or two just because of bad weather,” Metro said.

Parma City Schools have shifted to a mostly remote model, although there are some exceptions.

“We are working on a protocol which would allow us to designate in advance a “Remote Learning Day” if a forecast provides sufficient warning of inclement weather,” said spokesperson Audrey Holtzman.

“[Tuesday’s] forecast, at this point, does not provide sufficient grounds to deviate from our normal schedule. So, if we cannot hold school tomorrow, this will be a normal calamity day and all district functions, including Parma Virtual Learning Academy, are suspended,” Holtzman added.

But what the long-term future of snow days?

The head of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Teacher’s Union believes snow days are here to stay, most notably because of the equipment needed for remote learning.

Karen Rego points to the fact that students have been issued computers and WiFi hotspots.

“Students wouldn’t have access to all of that,” she said. “I don’t know if that would make a whole lot of sense moving forward. Right now they have [equipment] because our district has provided it for them. I don’t see that happening in the future, that we would be virtual on snow days.”

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