California schools went virtual Feb. 2-4 to combat the snowfall keeping students from the classroom.
Superintendent Dwight Sanders said making classes virtual was an important decision that will allow students to enjoy their summer vacation.
Sanders said whenever the district makes a call for weather cancellation, in most cases, they are unable to go virtual for the school day. However, when staff and faculty knew they were going to have an opportunity in advance to do so, he said, it made sense to plan the coming days as such.
"It made sense to use those as virtual days because this year, we've missed a couple of days around the winter holiday ... and then, we also missed a couple of days a little over a week ago when we had high COVID numbers," Sanders said. "Not knowing really what the future holds, as far as what kind of impact we're going to have with COVID, it just made sense for us to utilize those 36 hours of virtual instruction (given to us by the state)."
Sanders said the state allows for school districts up to 36 hours of virtual learning for students in the event of structural damage to the building, equipment breakdown, coronavirus outbreak or bad weather. To ensure the district receives enough hours to keep from making up any days in the future, he said it was important to use the hours during this time.
"We didn't start (school) until after Labor Day this year because of the construction, so we don't really want to add days on to the end of the year," he said. "We're already going until basically the last day in May. So if we had to add on to that it would push us to June, and we don't want to have to do that. This was an opportunity for us to, in essence ... to count those (virtual) hours toward our instruction time this year."
With time to plan, middle school and high school students were allowed to do their school work virtually while elementary school students were sent home with homework packets. While Sanders said he understands the position that children should be allowed to enjoy snow days as time off school, the school district will not delay summer vacation any further.
"I know there are some people that are frustrated ... and that say, 'Why don't we just do snow days like we always have and let kids be kids?'" Sanders said. "I appreciate that, but one of the things that I think about ... is that I think our kids would rather count these days as virtual than to have to add on days in June. (We) just don't want to have to do that. Obviously, (at that time), the weather's going to be much nicer. I think kids are going to want to be out and enjoying their summer instead of making up days because we didn't get those hours we have to get in."