By Teachers, For Teachers
If you’re up to date with the news, then you may have heard of some school districts in the teaching profession testing out remote schools days in lieu of when a school needs to close due to bad weather. Having a “Snow day” in the teaching profession is something that many students (and teachers) look forward to. It’s somewhat nostalgic, in the sense that it’s been going on for decades. For years, children have been putting ice cubes in the toilet and wearing their pajamas inside out in hopes of waking up to no school in the morning. However, the children who practice these superstitions, or who sit by the window and pray for a snow day at the first sight of a snowflake, will be quite disappointed to hear there may be a new policy that requires students to do schoolwork from home. Implementing a new policy in the teaching profession isn’t always easy, there are many factors that need to be addressed before making a final decision. Here we’ll take a look at all angles of this new, so-called remote school day.
You may be wondering where this idea even came from. Employers have been testing the waters of remote work for their employees for some time now. It was inevitable that the idea would catch on in the education world. Part of the problem with children missing school because of the weather is that each school has a set number of days that students and teachers must attend. When the days missed goes over that number, then school officials need to try and add more days which can lead into the summer months. Also, when students miss a lot of school, they may fall behind academically. In fact, children who missed school due to snow days in Oregon were said to do poorly on their state tests.
What lead to the idea of having a remote school day? In the year 2016-2017, students in many different states had a lot of snow days. Schools around Portland, Ore., lost upwards of 14 days of school that year. Today, students in areas of Maine have already lost a few days school this month due to the weather. When a series of bad weather days hits a school district, administration has to scramble to rework their calendar. But, if they were to replace the snow day with a remote school day, it would help to ease the problem.
With any new policy, there are some kinks that school officials would need to work out. For starters, not every child has access to the Internet or a laptop, so if the goal was for students to work from home on their devices, not all students would be able to do that. Also, children in grades K-3 may not have the skills to work online from home just yet. However, the alternative would be to send students home with a “Blizzard bag” like they plan on doing in Maine. This is a hard copy of the school work that must be completed. The problem with this is that you never know when the weather will turn bad, so how can the students get their blizzard bag? The answer may be to always have assignments readily available in the students’ take-home folder in case of a remote school day. As far as making sure students are actually working during their remote school day, the superintendent of Camden-Rockport schools in Maine has the answer: “Students who don’t do their work remotely will be marked as absent.”
Another possible problem school districts may face is that about 20 million children receive free lunch and 11.7 million receive free breakfast when they’re at school. If you were to have a few remote school days, then you won’t know whether children would be getting the proper nutrition that they need. According to the Washington Post, many of these children aren’t eating breakfast or lunch unless they are in school. Also, parents who work outside of the home have to take a day off of work or find child care which isn’t always easy. These are a just a few of the main issues that school officials will need to figure out.
As of now, there are only a few school testing this policy out. In time we’ll be able to see if remote school days will become the new “Snow day.”
What do you think of having remote school days in the teaching profession? Do you believe that it will become the new snow day? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below, we’d love to hear what you have to say on this topic.