Parenting

Why Some Schools Are Getting Rid Of Snow Days

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Some South Carolina school districts are replacing snow days with online classes, proving once and for all that when adults are in charge, they will go out of their way to suck all the joy out of life in the name of efficiency.

Five districts in South Carolina will serve as a pilot for the program, “eLearning.” The program lets students access assignments at home via Google Classroom with Chromebook devices. Students in grades 3 through 12 will be required to take their Chromebooks home to access the assignments.

“With today’s technology, it makes so much sense, from the practical standpoint and financially,” District 5 Superintendent Tom Wilson said of the announcement, according to Independent Mail, the local newspaper in Anderson. “Technology has changed every profession, and we have the technology in place to keep kids working during the snow days and eliminate the makeup days.”

“I think we will be a good model for the state,” he added. “We’ve invested $11 million in Chromebooks in the last five years, and this enables us to make use of it.”

Internet connectivity is not required for these assignments, according to the school district. The assignments can be downloaded ahead of time, so students can have access to their assignments without WiFi. Students unable to complete the work because of any technology issues will get a five-day grace period. Students can also call a hotline for help if need be, and upload their finished assignments once they get back to school.

The eLearning program even allows teachers to monitor the progress of their students in real-time through an online portal. Students can ping the teacher to ask questions and get insight on their coursework — which means teachers aren’t going to get to enjoy playing hooky on their snow day break, either.

Somewhere out there right now, Frosty is weeping.

“It’s not going to be like a substitute teacher, watch-a-video day,” said John Eby, spokesman for Pickens County schools. “The lesson will be tied to standards that would be taught in class that week.”

According to state law, districts must build three potential make-up days into their schedules, but those makeup days often come months after the missed class time, and anyone can tell you that on these days, there’s little learning taking place, if you can even get the kids to show up. But now through technology, closures can be erased from the school calendar altogether.

“With this program, instead of having to forgive days and give makeup assignments, hopefully we’ll get more learning in,” Eby said. “I’m sure there will be moaning and groaning from high-schoolers, but hey, we’re here to educate young minds.”

The technology has already been implemented for the 2018-19 school year, according to the school district. A firm calendar has been created with no inclement weather makeup days included, so I hope things proceed smoothly for them as winter approaches, because they’ve given themselves no cushion otherwise.

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