Zone superintendents weigh in snow day with distance learning approaching snow and wind

(WIVB) – Many parents will be paying close attention to weather forecasts and how it affects their local schools. Will they have a “snow day” or will their children learn at home?

It depends on who you ask, when it comes to planning the upcoming weather event. Urban school districts have more students walking to school – directly in blowing snow and freezing temperatures. While home learning may be less of an option for students in rural districts.

In Niagara Falls, more than 2,000 students walk to school and, due to a shortage of drivers, students often find themselves waiting for a school bus in freezing weather, which can be dangerous.

“The snow we were able to deal with, especially here in the north of the country,” said Niagara Falls Superintendent Mark Laurrie. “If you can get out front, plow it, move it, and secure the walks and parking lots so they’re ready for the day, but enough time for parents to make alternate plans if they need childcare. ‘children support the next day because they have to go to work, but the children will learn at home.

Laurrie said distance learning also requires planning, like sending students home with their computers.

Matthew Bystrak is the principal of West Seneca schools and pointed out that many of their families are not connected to the internet for distance learning. And school staff, from administration to teachers, are rallying to get kids to school and home safely, in what could turn out to be the teeth of the winter beast.

“To make sure you get a good quality education through distance learning, it’s not just ‘Hey everyone, make sure you take your Chromebooks’,” he said. he declares. “Our teachers, our administrators, all of our child care staff work together to make sure that we can keep our children together. Our nurses have been absolute rock stars throughout this affair. “

Schools in Hamburg could also be caught in the grip of winter, but Hamburg Central School principal Mike Cornell told News 4 that most suburban superintendents would take classes in person rather than distance learning.

“You have varied family circumstances for the children, so you will have children who would be well supported at home during the distance learning day,” he said. “And other children who would not be well supported at home on a distance learning day.”

While distance learning counts towards the 180 days of instruction required by the state, the “snow days” must be made up for. Still, Cornell told News 4 that most superintendents prefer “old-fashioned” in-person instruction to a computer screen, which may be out of reach for some families.

Al Vaughters is an award-winning investigative journalist who has been with the News 4 team since 1994. See more of his work here. To submit a Call 4 action, click here.

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