ESTHERVILLE, Iowa – Estherville Lincoln Central Community Schools is using “virtual snow days” for the first time this school year.
A virtual snow day is when teachers and students go online to complete lessons and assignments from home when the weather is too bad.
Superintendent Tara Paul said a virtual day is considered a regular school day.
“Implementing this allows our teachers to still connect with kids, use that for an academic purpose and that they didn’t lose a whole day of class and academic time. It also provides that consistency in an academic calendar for us,” Paul said.
The district begins to follow storms a few days out and lets teachers know to start planning online assignments just in case a virtual day is called.
There are three virtual days built-in to the 2018-2019 school year.
Paul said the district has, on average, four to five snow days a year.
“It’s the immediate right here and right now. I need that time with the kids today, because of the lesson. Whereas at the end of the year my lessons may not require as many days or as long with a period of kids. So then we have four days at the end of the year that we are trying to figure out how to make those work with our assignments,” Paul said.
Paul said the district uses “Google Classroom” that allows students to work on assignments, even if there is no internet access.
Each grade level will have a variation of assignments depending on what is being taught in different classrooms.
Paul said students even participate in physical education on virtual snow days.
“It was for both middle school and high school. Their time that day was to go out and shovel your sidewalk or driveway, and then they had to snap a picture and send it to their P.E. teacher of the snow that they moved that day,” Paul said.
Once all three virtual days are used the district will go back to a traditional snow day and add makeup days on to the end of the year.
As of January 29th, all virtual days for the district have been used.