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Baltimore city school board to vote on new plan for 'snow days'

Virtual learning proposed after three traditional snow days
Posted at 5:29 AM, Dec 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-13 07:55:41-05

BALTIMORE — The words "snow day" are music to the ears of almost every child and even some adults.

The Baltimore City Public School Board will vote Tuesday night on new rules for dealing with severe weather.

Typically, when there's snow on the ground, students get to enjoy a day off from school playing in the snow but since the pandemic changed so much of how kids learn while at home, administrators are taking another look at how city schools respond to winter weather.

The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) proposes to give new meaning to the words “snow day” this winter.

MSDE is offering Maryland public schools systems the opportunity to use virtual learning days instead of traditional snow days in which many kids spend their time outside playing in the snow, throwing snowballs, or making snow angels.

The state is allowing districts to use up to eight virtual days although the Department of Ed must approve any and all plans after tonight's vote by the Baltimore City Public School Board.

The proposal allows for three “traditional snow days,” meaning schools are closed and that no instruction would take place at school or at home.

Those snow days would be made up at the end of the school year in June.

If the weather forces schools to close for a fourth day, Baltimore city schools would switch to a virtual learning day and it would continue to utilize virtual learning up to the maximum of eight days allowed by the state.

At-home snow days would include a minimum of four hours of virtual learning for students between 9 o'clock in the morning and 1 o'clock in the afternoon. Attendance would be taken for both students and teachers.

Virtual learning days would not negatively impact a student’s grade. There would be opportunities for students to make up any missed classwork outside of the virtual learning day.

Baltimore City Schools media and public relations manager Sherry Christian recognizes a snow day means different things to parents, teachers, and students.

“Kids want to go outside and do the snow angels, but at the same time, City Schools knows the importance of being in the classroom, or at least learning on a particular day,” Christian said.

Some parents are happy about the proposed changes while others would prefer learning continue at-home, virtually on snow days.

Parent Milan Boyd said “yes, I think that will be a great idea. They won’t get left behind. They won’t fall back in their courses and everybody will be up to par, up-to-date.”

Parent Renaldo Woodrup said “I think they should do virtual all the way. If it shuts down all week, let them do virtual the whole week, that way they won’t be missing no time on school, no class work, and stuff like that.”

The Baltimore City Public School Board meeting is Tuesday, December 13 at 5 p.m. Parents and guardians may attend virtually online to watch the meeting live.

Baltimore City Public School Board Virtual Meeting
Tuesday, December 13, 2022
Click here for the agenda and details on how to join the meeting online.