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Snow Days Will Be Different; District Outlines What To Expect



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Snow days will be different this school year. The Board of Education approved a “Snow Day Expectations” document at its December 1 virtual meeting to outline new snow day expectations.

Superintendent of Schools Dr Lorrie Rodrigue shared that the state guidelines for this year, during the pandemic, allow for snow days to count as a school day.

“Some of the guidelines include hours, so it has to at least be a 4.5 hours for elementary and five for secondary, with a mix of synchronous and asynchronous learning, so that’s interesting,” Rodrigue said. “Even the state understands that students cannot be online all day.”

Given the guidelines, Rodrigue said the district put together its own expectations. She explained that students are not, when attending school in person, sent home daily with their technology devices. That led to some of the decisions made about the expectations, like how the timing of storms and advance notice would presumably allow students to access their devices.

Not having advance notice for storms or dealing with widespread power outages will also impact how the district decides to handle snow days, Rodrigue explained.

Announcements from the district are expected when decisions are made due to the weather.

The first two snow days of the school year will be regular snow days, the superintendent shared.

“No one has to worry about it, we don’t have to know in advance, they remain true snow days,” said Rodrigue about the two first days.

After discussion, board members unanimously approved the expectations.

The expectations are below, as shared by the district.

Snow Day Expectations:

• First two weather-related closures will remain true snow days.

• Following the first two closures, the district will determine, based on the timing of the impending storm and other factors, whether a remote learning day will be used to count as a regular school day.

• This decision will depend on the timing and advanced notice of a storm so we can ensure students have access to devices.

• When the district is alerted to potential weather for the following day, we will ensure students bring home devices as necessary.

• A storm may impact widespread power outages or other issues that may make remote learning in Newtown impossible. If this occurs, the regular school messenger will alert staff and parents that it is a snow day (no remote learning).

• Administrators should be sure that all teachers are online for the adequate number of hours (synchronous) as outlined in the remote learning plan.

• Remote learning schedule for emergencies will follow the regular remote learning plan.

• Remote learning for snow days will align with guidance from the State of Connecticut Department of Education (number of hours and mix of both asynchronous/synchronous learning opportunities).

• Parents should also follow the same attendance protocols (calling in to the school regarding student absences) on snow days when remote learning is in place.

• Teachers should follow the protocols for absences and/or emergency situations so the district can ensure continuity of instruction (substitute teacher, lesson plans, etc.).

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