Snow Day Protocol During a Pandemic

Innovation’s protocol for snow days this winter is to figure it out as we go. 

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s official guidance is, “if there are days when schools must close because of inclement weather or other emergency, districts may choose whether to treat those days as ‘snow days’ to be made up later or provide all students with remote learning on those days in a manner that is consistent with the regulatory requirements listed above.” 

This means the head of school, Greg Orpen, will choose what to do in the event of a school closure.

“Snow days have always been a good day for relaxation for both kids and adults,” Orpen noted. In the past, IACS students were lucky enough to experience the joy of waking up to two feet of snow and the school day cancelled. He doesn’t want to have to take that away from kids despite remote learning and online classes due to COVID-19. 

Inclement weather could cause power outages, and if there are many reports of a loss of power in the district, school should likely be cancelled altogether since online learning would not be feasible. 

Mr. Orpen may choose to cancel school even if there are no power outages — as a break for a fun day out in the snow — but he pointed out that there needs to be caution. Days when school is cancelled are added on to the end of the year, and no one wants to stay in school late into June longing for summer to begin.

On whether or not IACS students may be able to have an influence on the protocol, Orpen said that he may put out a survey where students can vote on what they would like the best. “Everyone would have one vote, but that means middle schoolers would have the same voting rights as seniors…We can’t have remote for middle school and on campus for high schoolers.” 

There’s also the option of having a Screen Free Day on one of those days that school is remote, but that is up to the middle and high schools to decide for themselves. 

Given the hybrid model being implemented in January, the excitement that is brought with a snow day may be possible this winter.  

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