Officials at both the Buffalo Public Schools and the Niagara Falls City Schools say they’re practically done with snow days this year because the new way of learning was brought-on by the pandemic.
In the falls they’re doing a hybrid model but they’re in the process of making sure that all the students have laptops and remote devices that they can use, should there be a winter weather emergency.
“If we can deploy all of our technology, which we will in the next two weeks, snow days could be a thing of the past,” said district superintendent Mark Laurrie.
If there’s a storm that causes a power outage, then they might have to use a snow day in the falls. The district plans for three snow days every year. Laurrie says, the challenge with moving to full remote at home learning is making sure kids remember to bring their devices home.
“I think the tricky part is sometimes students will leave their device in their cart at school with their name on it, or quite possibly in their locker, a teacher may do the same, if they know they’re not going to work on their device,” he said.
In Buffalo, students are learning full remote, with the option of changing to a hybrid model in the coming weeks. Officials there say, in the case of a hybrid or fully remote situation, students and staff will be required to attend school during snowy weather.
Teachers who teach remote classes in school buildings will be allowed to teach from home.
“If there is an inclement weather day, and we are compelled to do remote, and it’s not ideal or safe for teachers to travel, we would do a remote only day and teachers would be able to stay home on those days,” said the chief of staff for the Buffalo Public Schools Darren Brown- Hall. “We don’t want to risk anyone’s safety.”
The state department of education released guidelines on what districts can do, should there be a snow or weather emergency.
According to a memo released this month, the state is now allowing districts the freedom to switch to remote learning during a snow emergency.