EDITORIAL: School district should implement virtual snow days

Editorial Board

With the recent passing of Senate Bill 440, Pennsylvania schools are now allowed to incorporate up to five virtual snow days into their curriculum. The Altoona Area School District has decided not to participate in virtual snow days because they do not know how to serve students who don’t have the internet at home and special education classes. 

Depending on the number of snow days, graduation can be pushed back and holidays and in-service days can be turned into school days. At first, these snow days don’t really add up to much, but in some cases, these snow days can extend the school year. For example, last year, the final student day was moved to one week after the originally scheduled day. This movement caused frustration among the graduating class for those who had already made travel plans after graduation. 

The school board should establish a limit, allowing the first few snow days to be actual snow days, but after the first few snow days, the school should implement virtual snow days. By having both virtual snow days and real snow days, the school could have the best of both worlds. 

Although there are many challenges surrounding students with special needs or even students who don’t have access to the internet, there are ways around it. For example, teachers could work individually with the students who don’t have reliable internet by giving them paper copies so they won’t be behind. When it comes to students with special needs, if it looks like there will be a possible snow day teachers could have prepared worksheets or other things that would be needed.