With technology upgrades needed to provide ‘virtual learning’ options for students due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Township of West Milford School District announced on December 9 that it would be implementing ‘days of virtual snow ”in December 2020 for severe winter weather conditions.
The district is seeking parent and teacher feedback on this program and will assess its effectiveness before planning for January 2021 and beyond.
Rather than the typical school day closures that many children want and dream of when they see snowflakes start to fall, students in West Milford will still be able to go to school virtually on days that would have been previously a “snow day” with schools closed.
For “virtual snow days,” the WMTPS district plans to run virtual classes on an early termination schedule through Google Classroom and other online programs already in use by students.
Virtual Snow Days will play out the same way students have already become accustomed to their Wednesday virtual class schedules that have been in place since the start of the 2020 school year – via blended learning programs and 100% virtual district that have been implemented. to address the health, safety and education challenges related to state and public restrictions from the Covid-19 pandemic.
From the looming snowstorm this week, with a foot or more of snow expected in the area from the afternoon of Wednesday December 16 through Thursday December 17, the West Milford Township School Superintendent , Alex Anemone, already announced on Tuesday that the district’s first “virtual snow day” will be held on Thursday.
Seven “emergency closing days”
The West Milford School District has seven ’emergency shutdown days’ which have been scheduled in the 2020-2021 school calendar (used primarily for hazardous snow / ice conditions and / or weather-related power outages) to allow the minimum 180 school days required by the state to be met if school closures are necessary. Early termination days must be a minimum of four instructional hours in order to count as a school day, according to public school mandates.
Despite the virtual snow days plan, district-wide power outages or service outages in certain areas of the township affecting individual schools may still require the use of emergency shutdown days.
‘Virtual snow days’ will undoubtedly avoid the use of ’emergency shutdown days’ – whether within the seven additional emergency shutdown days planned or beyond the number of days required. emergency. School holidays, spring break and official last day of school dates can be adjusted at a later date – depending on the number of emergency closure days used.
While some families look forward to having “snow days” with their children – building a snowman, sledding, building snow forts, doing snowball battles, making snow angels, etc., snowy day closures are often more difficult for some parents such as essential workers, who still have to report to work – snow or not – and often have difficulty arranging last minute child care.
And then you have 2020 – a year like no other so far in our lives. With its pandemic quarantines, social distancing requirements, lack of social events, restrictions on social gatherings and meals, limited sports and activities, job losses due to closures, and more. Some families are already under maximum stress and become tired of spending “too much” time with the same people day in and day out.
How do you feel about having “virtual snow days” for school? Let us know!
Share your comments below.
Here is the text of the December 15 note from Superintendent of Schools Alex Anemone to the WMTPS community:
The weather forecast for tomorrow calls for heavy snowfall in the late afternoon.
Wednesday, December 16 will remain the early dismissal day for students and staff. In addition, the SACC will close at 4:00 p.m. Wednesday.
Thursday, December 17, however, will be our first “virtual snow day”. A notice was sent to the school community last week explaining the concept of a “virtual snow day” and its implications.
A brief review:
• On Thursday, December 17, schools will operate on a virtual early dismissal schedule.
• WMHS from 7.18 a.m. to 12.19 p.m.
• Highlander Academy from 7:30 am to 12:29 pm
• Macopin 7:30 am – 12:29 pm
• Primary school from 8:35 am to 1:20 pm
• PreK AM from 8:35 am to 10:25 am
• PreK PM 11:30 am – 1:20 pm
• Lessons, homework, etc. will be posted to Google Classroom and instructions will be provided through Google Meet.
• Therapy services, child study team meetings, counseling, etc. will be provided via Google Meet.
• We are committing to it for our first day of snow and we will assess its effectiveness thereafter before making decisions for January and beyond; your comments are appreciated.
A Honeywell emergency alert message was also sent to families in the district by Anemone on Wednesday: “Virtual Snow Day Tomorrow, Thursday, December 17 will be a virtual snow day for the district.”