A school district in South Carolina announced last week that it will be the first in the state to get rid of beloved snow days. Instead, when weather conditions are too poor to risk driving on the roads, an eLearning day will be announced — requiring students to complete their classwork online from home.
How are they doing that?
In the past five years, the Anderson School District 5 has spent $11 million to provide Chromebooks to all of its students. Because of this, Superintendent Tom Wilson told the Washington Post, administrators are "confident that the vast majority of the students will be able to do their work from home."
"With today's technology, it makes so much sense, from the practical standpoint and financially," Wilson explained to the Anderson Independent-Mail. "Technology has changed every profession, and we have the technology to keep kids working during the snow days and eliminate the makeup days."
Those makeup days cost money, Wilson added.
"No longer will we need to run buses mid-June for a makeup day that only a quarter of our students attend," he said. "We have the resources in Anderson 5, and doing this allows us to utilize those resources to their fullest extent."
District 5 made the announcement on Facebook last week, assuring parents that an internet connection would not be required to complete the schoolwork. Officials commented that students can "download assignments to their Chromebooks ahead of time to ensure access in the case of WiFi outage."
But in the instance that a student is unable to complete their work due to technical problems, they will be allowed a five-day grace period to submit eLearning assignments.
Teachers in the district won't get snow days off either, as they will maintain virtual office hours to assist students online. District 5 director of eLearning and integration, Anna Baldwin, told the Independent-Mail, "On days when the eLearning is implemented, the teacher can look at the progress of the student's work, and if they're struggling, the teacher can ask questions or recommend a video or a document that might help."
What do people think about the decision?
Wilson said the feedback school officials have received regarding the new policy has been mostly positive. But concerns about specialized instruction and power outages were raised on the district's social media post. And one commenter said with a laugh: "So glad I'm out of school now."