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Online Learning During Snow Days ‘Not Prudent’ For Franklin, District Official Says

The school district won’t be abolishing snow days in favor of online learning. (File photo).


The idea has been studied, but abolishing snow days in favor of online learning won’t happen in township schools, a district official said.

The idea became a topic of conversation last month after officials of Anderson County School District 5, in South Carolina, decided to require online assignments when schools have to be closed due to inclement weather.

Every student in the district has a Chromebook, and those who do not have Internet access would be able to finish assignments within five days after returning to school, according to a published report.

The idea might work in a South Carolina district, which does not receive much snow, but probably wouldn’t be practical in Franklin, said district spokeswoman Mary Clark.

According to the U.S. Census, about 93 percent of Franklin Township homes have computers, and about 98 percent of those homes have Internet access.

That’s not the issue, Clark said. She said the concern is one of safety.

“There are a few challenges to implementing online teaching in place of snow days in New Jersey,” Clark said in an email. “One district had questioned its feasibility last year and the state (Department of Education) gave some guidance. This guidance included the requirements that school buildings remain open on those on line teaching days; that teachers conducting the online classes be present in the school building and that students be given the opportunity to participate in the school building.”

That’s where the problem lies, Clark said.

“One of the primary factors in the Superintendent’s decision to close schools due to inclement weather is the inability for students and staff to travel to the school building safely,” she wrote. “So opening the buildings and asking staff or students to travel to the building in those conditions would not be prudent.”

 

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