With many schools in the DMV conducting virtual learning due to the pandemic, expected snowy weather on Wednesday may have little impact on if class occurs.
MARYLAND, USA — Among the many changes of 2020 will be far fewer students wearing pajamas inside out and parents waking up early to see if their child’s school is on the snow closure list.
Due to the pandemic, many schools in the DMV have moved classes online to keep students and staff safe from the spread of coronavirus.
However, as a result, the snow forecast for the region on Wednesday may have little impact on whether virtual class occurs.
“We know that students are in school less than they have been in past years. There’s a great case to be made for keeping those snow days as academic days,” said Cynthia Simonson, who has two children in the Montgomery County school system. “There’s no question that snow days bring about a level of morale and as an excitement for the kids.”
On Monday, several localities described to WUSA 9 their response to possible severe winter weather.
In Arlington, Director of Communications Frank Bellavia said in-person classes would revert to distance learning for all students in the case of inclement weather.
Alexandria City Public Schools spokesperson Helen Lloyd said virtual learning will continue on snowy days but severe weather could lead to the cancellation of food distribution and child care programs.
In Fairfax County, the district posted a statement outlining multiple scenarios for dealing with snow days, from all schools being closed and all learning canceled to teacher-led virtual learning days or independent learning for all students.
All three areas said power outages could lead to the biggest challenges and result in both in-person and virtual classes being canceled for the day.
On Monday, Maryland State Education Association President Cheryl Bost urged school districts not to make quick changes rotating back and forth between in-person and virtual learning if snow impacts classes.
“We don’t want to just change on a dime. It really is a different style of teaching,” she said. “That does take a different type of planning and instruction. We can’t just anticipate we’re all going to have our devices and we have our lesson plans already. That just won’t happen.”
Ahead of the expected winter weather on Wednesday, she said changes to learning during the pandemic made planning a bit easier for winter weather.
“Many of our school districts are virtual, currently. It really shouldn’t impact their day,” she said. “It will be a regular school day in our virtual world.”
Moving forward, Cheryl Bost believed her children would keep hoping for snow to impact school just like any other year.
“They’re going to disown me if I say eliminate a snow day,” the mom said. “If it’s the good fluffy stuff, they have snowmen to build.”