While many students and families have become accustomed to remote learning during the pandemic, the rules and requirements for remote learning have changed in Connecticut.
In a letter to superintendents at the end of 2021, the state's commissioner of education explained that COVID-19 health and safety concerns, "may dictate very limited exceptions" for remote learning, but it is generally not permitted during the 2021-22 school year.
The state has a 180 school day requirement and, unless otherwise specified, remote learning days do not count towards the 180 day total. If a school district is scheduled for the minimum 180 school days and has to cancel a day for snow, students will have to make-up the day in-person.
However, some schools are scheduled for more than 180 days. This allows for some flexibility.
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Students in Coventry spent the snow day on Thursday learning remotely. The school district's calendar is built for 182 days.
"We have these two built-in days and we felt if we can use those days to do things a little differently than we have in the past, based on what we learned from the pandemic, why not do that?" said Superintendent David Petrone. "Parents really liked it, kids liked it. We have an abbreviated day for students."
Other districts are in a similar situation. Bolton Public Schools' calendar is built for 181 days so they also have flexibility with one day which they utilized today, according to the superintendent.
Some education leaders hope that the state will make a change in the future and allow remote days to count towards the 180-day requirement when there is inclement weather.
"Sometimes those snow days can become so many that students are going to school until the end of June and that is not wonderful either. I think it ought to be an option," said Fran Rabinowitz, executive director of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents.