MCPS changes snow day policy, will consider virtual learning on case-by-case basis

Seyun Park

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MCPS closed schools on Monday, January 3, due to snow. In the future, days like this might be mitigated with virtual learning.

In a meeting held on Feb. 1, the MCPS Board of Education voted on changes to the MCPS inclement weather policies, presenting the possibility of having virtual learning on snow days. Although the change does not immediately guarantee virtual learning, MCPS will now consider on a case-by-case basis to go virtual on days with school closure due to severe weather.

So far this school year, MCPS has closed due to inclement weather 4 times, and thus 3 make-up instructional days will need to be added to the calendar. These days will either come from teacher professional days, spring break or by adding more days to the end of the school year.

MCPS Interim Superintendent Monfia McKnight emphasized the move would not fully get rid of snow days.

“I can not imagine us operating in any way if we have two or more feet of snow, in which there are many other considerations that have to be taken into account, meaning, electricity, (wifi) interruptions,” McKnight said at the board meeting.

The vote, 7-1, was solely opposed by student member of the board Hana O’Looney who criticized poor outreach to students and staff.

“This plan is kind of an insensitive plan… A lot of students and staff have always enjoyed a good inclement weather day as a break, a serendipitous break from school, especially this year, when we know that the pressure on students has been enormous,” O’Looney said.

The move is for this school year only and goes into effect immediately; however, this plan could also be implemented in future years.

This change in policy has been met with pushback from students, who lament the loss of snow days.

“It’s evil. It takes the fun out of winter. The feeling that you get when you wake up and look at the news and you see school’s cancelled, we don’t have that anymore.” freshman Kansiri Sukduang said.

However, board members value the virtual learning method as a key method for mitigating extra instructional days at the end of the school year or other makeup days.

“We don’t want to extend the school year if we don’t have to, and if having those virtual days will help us, then that’s what I want us to be able to do,” District 4 board member Shebra Evans said.