UPDATE (4:15) p.m.: The Riverhead Central School District formally announced its buildings would close Thursday and students would switch to remote learning due to the potential for heavy snow brought by a nor’easter.
Original story: For many families, a winter storm in the forecast means fingers crossed —and turning your pajamas inside out — in the hopes of a snow day.
But as many students have switched to virtual learning due to the coronavirus pandemic, will the impending snow storm forecast to bring nearly a foot of snow to the area have any impact on schools?
In September, the state Education Department announced a Covid-19 snow day pilot program that would give local school districts flexibility in deciding whether to pivot to virtual learning during what would otherwise be a canceled school day because of a snow emergency, in order to provide “continuity of instruction,” according to a memo.
The pilot plan is in effect for the entire 2020-2021 school year and will be reviewed by education officials to see if it’s something that should continue in future years.
Several area school districts have already announced that they would not be participating in this pilot program.
While no districts have officially called off school for Thursday yet, below is a list of their winter weather plans.
Students in Riverhead shouldn’t expect a snow day as they remember. Interim Superintendent Christine Tona said Tuesday that the district is planning for a remote learning day if necessary.
In a letter to families earlier this week, Superintendent Gerard Poole said that if schools are closed due to inclement weather, the first two emergency closures will be traditional snow days and distance learning will not take place.
“For any additional emergency closures, the district will shift to distance learning on those days rather than make up the days by canceling existing vacation days,” Mr. Poole wrote.
Superintendent Jill Gierasch said a school cancellation would mean an “old fashioned snow day” in Mattituck.
In a notice to families, Ms. Gierasch explained that there are four snow days proactively built into the calendar that would not disrupt required instruction days.
The first three emergency closures would be traditional snow days with no remote instruction taking place.
As for the fourth day, she said district officials are planning to re-evaluate based on Covid-19 guidelines to determine if distance learning is needed. “Reserving this fourth day could potentially give us some flexibility if needed in the future as we experienced last spring,” Ms. Gierasch wrote.
Southold’s Superintendent, Anthony Mauro, said Wednesday that school cancellations due to snow would also be typical snow days with no remote learning planned.
During a Greenport Board of Education meeting Tuesday, Superintendent Marlon Small said students will have a traditional snow day if school is canceled.
“Based on discussions i’ve had with stakeholders and our neighbors, we will not be participating in [the pilot program,]” Mr. Small said.