Some schools prepare for remote learning as snow days run out

Published: Feb. 20, 2023 at 4:45 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - North country schools are quiet this week with students on winter break.

Meanwhile, district superintendents are continuing to do some math - calculating snow days.

“We’ve used three snow days so we have two left,” said Doug McQueer, Hammond Central School District superintendent.

To get state aid, schools need to teach 180 days and the school calendar allows for a certain number of snow days. Some schools like Hammond have reserved five snow days.

Others like Parishville-Hopkinton scheduled for three. That district sent out a letter in January telling parents it will switch to remote learning, if it is able, when school is forced to close because of weather.

The state Board of Regents just began allowing school districts to decide if a snow day is needed to teach remotely rather than using and losing a traditional snow day.

It’s been a practice since 2020 but was made permanent by the board in September.

With three out of its five days crossed off its calendar, Hammond is preparing its remote learning model just in case.

“It’s not the best option in the world but with the weather, at least we can use some education on those days,” said McQueer.

Between major snow in November and December and below-freezing temperatures and icy roads in February, schools have been forced to use more snow days than they planned for.

Districts like Carthage and Indian River have used five of their allotted snow days and have likely run out.

What may have not been much of a concern in past years is now front and center.

“The way this weather has changed being around that 28- to 33-degree range that it’s been so many times, I am nervous about that,” said McQueer.

There may be one more choice. Remember during the major snow event around Thanksgiving? The governor declared a state of emergency.

According to the governor’s office, if a school closed its doors during that storm, districts can apply for a waiver. That means it would be a snow day not counted against the school’s allotment.