New Proposal Would Eliminate ‘Snow Days’

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In Minnesota, winter’s arrival brings threats of snow days and some districts plan to overcome cancelled school with “virtual school days.”

With the weather cancellations the Northland had last year, schools were tearing up their calendars to cram in more teaching time. 

But a few districts are trying something different — and the wave of technology may soon take over.

Teachers will post assignments and students can use their iPad and laptop to take notes at home. 

Proctor Superintendent John Engelking worries it will minimize the one-on-one interaction.

“When we lose that for a limited amount of time, it’s important to get back on track again,” said Engelking.

But, he says, the pros far outweigh the cons. 

“I think they like being able to interact and get things in digitally,” said Engelking. 

He says it’s a good way to prep the students for their academic future.

“It would be college with online classes,” said Proctor sophomore Lydia Himes. “It’s be more independent versus relying solely on your teacher or peers.”

Both Proctor and Hermantown districts would like to implement the idea. 

“I think the future of having school virtually to avoid losing instructional time is something that is certainly possible,” said Engelking. 

Hermantown Superintendent Brad Johnson said, “I see it in the future that could be something that all staff will do once they are trained and have the devices in the kids hand.”

The Hermantown District already has some teachers on board and have experimented with it just this year. 

The districts would re-purpose their curricular money to fund iPads rather than books.

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