ACPS Revamps Inclement Weather Policies

Virtual learning returns for extended closures


Anna Zheng, Social Media Editor

With only eight full and two partial days of school occurring in January, ACPS is considering ways to make up instructional time for future inclement weather conditions.

“Including today’s [Monday’s] two-hour delay, we will be 11 hours over our minimum requirements if we do not miss any more time from school,” chief of strategic planning Patrick McLaughlin said via e-mail. “The state minimum requirement is 990 hours, and each of our school days counts as six hours toward the 990 minimum.”

The School Board voted on Feb. 10 to make Friday, May 20 a full instructional day instead of a teacher work day. If we miss any more days over the next month, Friday, March 18 will also be a full instructional day. 

Additionally, a virtual schooling plan is now in place in case of multiple-day closures similar to those in January. 

If there is advance notice for an extended closure, devices will be sent home with students beforehand, according to McLaughlin. It is especially important for elementary students since their devices are kept at school.

A calendar modeling how January closures would have gone with the new virtual learning policies in place. Despite both closures being forewarned, Jan. 4-7 had wide-spread power outages, so they would still be snow days.
“Listed days on the calendar would have been a possibility with the new virtual learning plan,” McLaughlin said. The road conditions meant “January 18 may have ended up being a regular snow day, but by the 19th, we would likely have had the opportunity to move to virtual.”

Virtual days may not always be in place during extended closures, as they “are always contingent on conditions such as power, internet access in the county, etc.,” and require advance notice. 

A virtual day would last from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with both synchronous and asynchronous learning for students. Teachers would take attendance as usual and would not introduce new material. Each school would be sent information for instructional access and an announcement to families would be made as soon as possible. 

In anticipation of adverse weather, students should bring home their school-issued device and charger daily and ensure functionality so they may access virtual learning.

“In future years, this will be our plan from the start of the school year for any extended closures,” McLaughlin said.

How do you feel about going back to virtual learning during inclement weather?


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