Waterbury Public Schools is the latest school district in Connecticut to opt for virtual learning instead of a traditional snow day.
The superintendent sent out the following message to inform parents:
"For the 2020-2021 school year, Waterbury Public Schools will eliminate inclement weather days and other emergency closure days by utilizing virtual instruction. On those days, students will follow their current daily schedule, logging in virtually. The only exception will be if there are widespread power outages throughout the city. In that situation, the district will cancel school and make up the day at the end of the school year similar to previous years."
Jaqui DeVito, who has a 9-year-old daughter in fourth grade, was pleased.
“They’re home anyway, so I think it’s better for both the students and the school system if they get that extra learning time in and turn those snow days into learning days,” said DeVito.
She went on to say, “We might see an increase in maybe the comprehension and the reading because everybody is concerned that their children are not getting what they usually get in the classroom and that maybe they’re not getting a full year’s worth of learning because of the crazy business because of COVID.”
Since the students are already doing half-days in Waterbury, DeVito said they would still have the second half of the day to relax and enjoy the snow.
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Jarrell Smith has a 6-year-old daughter in first grade and a 16-year-old son in ninth grade.
Smith said doing virtual learning on snow days might be tough for some families, when the parents still must work and rely on a sitter. Now that sitter would have to manage virtual learning. Smith said he does see the benefits though because it will keep his children on track.
Right now, all of the students in Waterbury Public Schools are learning virtually until mid-January.
“My daughter loves it actually, she’s real good at it. She likes school. So she’s real attentive and stuff like that. My son, he’s a little different because it’s high school so it’s harder to get everything together but he’s trying his best,” said Smith.
All of the students in Waterbury have been provided a digital device for virtual learning.
A district spokesperson said doing virtual learning on snow days will allow the district to adhere to its calendar and allow families to plan for graduation.
The only exception to a virtual learning day would be if there is a widespread power outage or internet outage.
In that case, the school district may cancel school and make that day up at the end of the school year.