Can Massachusetts Public Schools Use Snow Days as Distance Learning Days? DESE says no virtual learning this year



Instead of playing in the snow or lazing around in front of the TV, some Massachusetts students had virtual learning during the snowy days last year.

This is no longer an option.

The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has said that regardless of the situation, distance learning no longer counts towards a district’s minimum required structured learning time.

When DESE authorized it last year, many schools were already remote due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The choice, DESE said at the time, was only available for the 2020-2021 school year.

Governor Charlie Baker has long been a proponent of face-to-face learning.

“The rules here are pretty straightforward, we count the in-person school as the school,” Baker said earlier this week as coronavirus cases skyrocket in Massachusetts.

Some schools were considering closing due to increased cases and understaffing. Baker said those schools can then treat it like a traditional snow day, but would not be allowed to view distance learning as a typical school day.

“If a school district isn’t open at some point during the year, it can use snow days until it’s gone,” he said. “But they have to offer their children 180 days of in-person education this year.”

Some schools across the country, however, had distance learning options on the snowy days before the pandemic.

A 2016 to study led by David Hua, associate professor of computer science at Ball State University, suggested “that virtual learning days serve as an option that school districts can implement to avoid the negative impact that school cancellations have. may have on student learning outcomes ”.

“I think this will become more and more common, especially as our young company becomes more and more involved in finding answers online,” Hua said. EdTech in 2019. “It’s natural for students.

Since then, the pandemic has forced schools across the United States to test distance learning options. And while most students are back in person, distance options have started to appear in new ways.

In Massachusetts, some permanent virtual schools have started to open, notably in Springfield.

“I noticed, while teaching last year, that there were some students who really, really thrived on distance learning and maybe didn’t do as well in person. They didn’t have the distractions that they might have had in person, and they felt a bit more comfortable and confident at home, ”said Joanne Anglade, Educational Leadership Specialist for ELA and School. social studies.

And for schools outside of the Commonwealth, some still use virtual learning options for snowy days.

“This is actually the first year that we haven’t had snow days built into our traditional calendar,” said Dr Christopher Stone. WPIX about his school outside of Pittsburgh.

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