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Schools use poor weather as online learning days

Published: Nov. 12, 2021 at 5:15 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The blowing snow returning for the first time this season forced many schools in eastern South Dakota to close. Although that doesn’t mean learning was done for the day, with schools taking what they learned from the pandemic and applying them to bad weather.

“COVID is what kind of got us ready for it, with being in positions sometimes where you may or may not have to shutdown. And so, it translates well to winter weather now.” said Elkton District Superintendent Brain Jandahl.

Schools like Elkton and Waubay spent the day in online classrooms instead of just snow days. With prior notice, both districts gave students the means and technology to prepare for an online snow day. It requires some planning ahead from staff and students, but it allows the district to still have classes.

“When we have prior notice of here’s the big storm coming, with the media and National Weather Service. Which we had a day or two lead in. We tried to be proactive instead of reactive.” said Waubay District Superintendent Alan Neville.

Jandahl said their system isn’t perfect yet in making sure every student has what they need for the day. But it’s nothing they can’t make up when they return to class.

“And occasionally, you’ll run into a thing where maybe somebody left a little bit early, and they didn’t get a computer taken home with them. There’s some flexibility, and we’re understanding with that too.” said Jandahl.

Neville said having days like these saves their district from tacking on days at the end of the year, as they’d have to if they took snow days off instead.

“The weather’s nice, students are getting antsy. Maybe nota whole lot of quality learning is occurring at that time. So it makes a lot of sense to me that we just continue that instruction.” said Neville.

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