Snow days won't become online learning days for Cedar Rapids, College Community schools, at least for now

Other districts moving to online learning when weather conditions deem in-person school unsafe

Snow covers homes Dec. 30 in northwest Cedar Rapids. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)
Snow covers homes Dec. 30 in northwest Cedar Rapids. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)

Although Iowa school districts have the option of moving to virtual learning on days that snow or cold keeps kids home, some are choosing instead to keep the snow day tradition.

As part of the COVID-19 response, the state is allowing the temporary use of online learning during snow days so in-person learning does not need to be made up because of weather-related cancellations.

The Cedar Rapids Community School District will not convert to online learning on snow days. While all students in the Cedar Rapids schools have been issued devices, some students may not have access to the internet.

“We have made great strides forward, but we want to be sure to provide access to every student should we incur inclement weather days,” the district stated. “Remote instruction would be a challenge for all students on inclement weather days.”

If the district has more than five snow days, however, it will reevaluate how to make up instructional time.

The College Community School District also is choosing to make up snow days in-person rather than move to virtual instruction.

If the district has an unusually high number of snow days, online learning will be considered only if the forecast is strong enough to make the cancellation the day before — so students can collect needed materials to learn from home — or if the snow day extends to more than one consecutive day.

The Linn-Mar Community School District plans to give online learning a try if weather forecasts indicate early the day before that a snow day is coming.

The district would alert staff and students that instead of attending class in-person, they are expected to learn online that day and give them time to take any technology or other materials home with them.

If the call for a snow day is a “tough decision” made that morning, Superintendent Shannon Bisgard said it will most likely be a “traditional snow day.”

“It’s hard for families to scramble on snow days already, and if you don’t know what you’re planning for it makes it more difficult,” Bisgard said in a school board meeting this week.

Other school district’s snow day plans are more cut and dry.

All snow day closings in the Iowa City Community School District automatically will become virtual learning days.

Students in the district have been in either hybrid learning — learning in-person or online every other day — or continuous remote learning since school started in August.

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