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Virtual learning helping keep schools on track during snow cancellations

Published: Feb. 3, 2021 at 9:55 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - School districts across the central Wisconsin area are bracing for the heavy snow expected on Thursday.

“We don’t want students or staff or parents to be traveling when it’s unsafe. So they can remain in their homes and receive their instruction virtually,” Merrill Area Public superintendent Dr. John Sample said.

“We consider some of our secondary and high school students that are driving on their own,” Wausau Area School district chief financial officer Bob Tess added.

Some of the districts made the decision earlier on Wednesday so that parents with younger children can adjust their schedules.

“Think about the family that doesn’t have a daycare option or childcare option for their student while they’re at home,” Tess stated.

“We try to make that decision as early as possible to try and help families find care for students. We know it’s very inconvenient when school is called that way,” Stevens Point area school district director of communications Sarah O’Donnell added.

Virtual learning will take the place of snow days in the school calendar. Missing the day off has its own pros and cons. The school district is forced to make up fewer days in the summer if the classes are virtual instead of canceled.

“Historically snow days bring happiness for our students, it gives them family time,” Dr. Sample shared.

“Snow days are fun but nobody wants to go to school on June 15th either,” Tess added.

But if parents wanted to have their child have an actual snow day ultimately they could. Whether the reason is for safety or a much needed day off.

“Ultimately you’re in control of what students are doing tomorrow. So if your kiddo needs a snow mental health day we’ll count that as an absence and parents have the right to make that decision,” O’Donnell explained.

“Call the school and let the principal know that’s what you’re doing. Parents have more control over that than some might think,” Tess added.

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