Michiana School Districts talk Snow Days in a post pandemic world

NOW: Michiana School Districts talk Snow Days in a post pandemic world

MISHAWAKA, Ind. - You may remember the feeling of waking up, and hearing school was cancelled because of the snow.

Some kids today may never know the feeling of a traditional snow day in the post-pandemic world, with e-learning readily available for many districts.

ABC57s Jackie Bauer checked in with four local districts to discuss what they would do in cases of inclement weather, that make the roads too dangerous for students to be in school, in person.  

School City of Mishawaka Schools had a two-hour delay on Tuesday. We talked to their admin as well as other school districts across Michiana to see if school was cancelled if you would have a traditional snow day or switch to e-learning.

"A lot of information… collective information when we make the determination to call a snow day or not. A lot of eyes on the road, a lot of people on the road… to make that decision,”

Dr. Dan Applegate, Superintendent of Nile’s Community Schools says a lot goes into making the call of school or snow day.

He broke down the decision-making factors, and checking in with other districts, and transportation departments to make the call.

He said even wakes up early and drives the rural and city roads before making the final decision.

A big factor that he keeps in mind is new high school drivers on the road.

Although they did not cancel school on Tuesday, they have six traditional snow days built into their schedule.

Protocols differ from state to state.

"Prior, we want to make sure we are using the data and what we are seeing in the classroom to drive our instruction, so if we do have a snow day, we have that built into our calendar and that’s when the days would occur,” said Dr. Caity Stockstell with School City of Mishawaka.

School City of Mishawaka also has built in traditional snow days into their schedules, as well as planned e-learning days.

Plymouth Schools, however, say with standardized tests around the corner, they try to switch to e-learning whenever they can, opposed to cancelling school.

"When we can, we go with our e-learning model, if anything proved to be a large learning curve of importance of instruction of the pandemic is being able to deliver high quality instruction whenever we can, so if we can we are always going to go with e-learning,” said Assistant Superintendent Jill VanDriessche.

They work to make the model accessible for all students with hotspots and each student having an iPad to take home.

Other districts we spoke to said following the pandemic, they too have the technologies and preparations needed if e-learning days need to take place.

"We do have that flexibility and the reality of what transpires in homes during e-learning, those aren’t easy for families either, so we try to collaborate with them and what goes into students completing their work,” added VanDriessche.

And while procedures also very by district, Elkhart Community Schools has a similar e-learning model, that they say has worked for them.

"There's almost no difference for our attendance for in person days and e-earning days…. It is all about using our instructional days wisely and while e-learning isn’t the most effective way to deliver instruction, it is better than nothing,” said Barbara Cripe, the Director of Elementary Curriculum and Instruction for Elkhart Community Schools.

Schools are still preparing to make the call for Wednesday, stay updated on air and online with ABC57.

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