LONGMONT, Colo. (KDVR) — Hours after Denver Public Schools called a snow day on Jan. 18, students rushed to Ruby Hill Park, screaming with excitement as they sled down the hill.
But 30 miles north, William Mills was stuck behind his Longmont computer, taking part in an online learning day.
“It’s kind of annoying, because I really want to have a free day,” Mills said.
While some districts have returned to snow days, St. Vrain Valley Schools continues to move forward with online learning days, where students have an abbreviated schedule.
St. Vrain parents can excuse students on snow days
Spokesperson Kerri McDermid said parents have the choice to excuse their student from online learning, but said they’ve seen over 90% participation during past inclement weather online learning days.
The district said students only attend class virtually for 1.5-2 hours, with additional time built in for one-on-one interaction with teachers over online office hours.
“With all of the technology and capacity within St. Vrain Valley Schools, we feel it is our responsibility and obligation to provide students with every opportunity to learn, while still allowing for families to opt out of the school day if they choose,” McDermid wrote.
But Mills said the days feel unproductive and would be better spent without a rigid schedule.
“It was like Webex meetings that we used to have during COVID are now every snow day. We’ll just have them instead of just staying home from school,” he said. “It’s just kind of getting homework assigned for that day.”
Mills and more than 1,600 others have now signed an online petition asking the district to go back to the way things were.
“I think that was one of the only things that kids had to look forward to, was a snow day,” William’s father, Randy, said. “Now that we’re kind of back to normal, I’d like to see the school system go back to the way it was.”
St. Vrain responds to snow day push
Here is the full statement from the school district:
During times of inclement weather, our families have a choice regarding what they feel is best for their child, and can always excuse their student from online learning. We have had over 90% participation during past inclement weather online learning days, as many parents want their students to have an opportunity to stay connected with their learning and engage with their teachers and classmates in our shortened online learning model, where students attend class virtually for 1.5-2 hours, with the rest of the day serving as a snow day. Many students also benefit from access to teacher office hours built into our shortened online learning model to ask questions and receive individualized academic support. With all of the technology and capacity within St. Vrain Valley Schools, we feel it is our responsibility and obligation to provide students with every opportunity to learn, while still allowing for families to opt out of the school day if they choose. Additionally, we know that many future jobs and postsecondary education opportunities will rely on technology and involve a significant amount of virtual communication. Accordingly, we are providing our students with every opportunity to gain the skills and experiences they need to be prepared for success in the future.St. Vrain Valley Schools