Could snow days be a thing of the past?

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ALBANY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — A heavy lake effect snow band or a Nor’easter may no longer be a guarantee of a day off from school.

The New York State Education Department says it is giving schools the option this winter of offering online instruction on days when typically it would be unsafe to send school buses out or have students walking or waiting at a bus stop.

So while the snow is piling up and the wind is howling outside, you may still have that algebra class. Instead of shoveling driveways for some extra money, students may be asked to do school work virtually.

In a memo sent to school districts across the state Tuesday, the education department said the following:

As part of the Department’s ongoing efforts to provide districts with flexibility in meeting local needs during the pandemic, the Department is establishing a one-year pilot to enable school districts, at district option, and consistent with each district’s re-opening educational plan, to pivot to remote instruction to provide continuity of instruction on what would otherwise be a day of school closure due to a snow emergency.

Districts are still digesting what “no snow days” would mean for students and staff.

I think what is most important to any school district is that we have a number of days that we are supposed to provide learning and instruction so we always want to look at what that means. There are some years that we have great weather and circumstances and there are other years we are very challenged by that. So, the fact that we have something like this to pilot gives us something to figure out what that means.

Dr. Donna DeSiato
East Syracuse Minoa Central School District Superintendent

So it might be time to retire those old myths, like turning your pajamas inside out. 2020 could become the year that ended snow days for students.

But, for now, the pilot program is just for the 2020 to 2021 school year. The education department will then evaluate the program after the school year and decide whether to continue it in following years.

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