Students in Virginia’s largest school system won’t have to sign on for virtual learning in the event of any snow days this school year.
In a message posted on the Fairfax County Public Schools website, Superintendent Michelle Reid said there won’t be any virtual learning days if schools are closed due to inclement weather. It marks a change from last year’s policy, which said that the first five inclement weather days would be traditional snow days, and anything beyond that would be unscheduled virtual learning days.
The change comes after feedback from school staff and parents, a county spokeswoman told WTOP.
It’s possible, Reid said, because there are 11 snow days built into the calendar for the current school year, so “eliminating virtual learning days will enable us to maximize our in-person learning and provide for equitable access to instruction and student services for each and every one of our students.”
However, students will still have access to digital resources, such as Tutor.com, in the event schools are closed because of weather, Reid said.
“Though this year’s snow days won’t feature virtual instruction, I trust our students will still have plenty of learning opportunities, whether it’s the physics of sledding down a hill or experimenting with ratios to make the perfect mug of hot chocolate with whipped cream,” Reid wrote in the memo.
Fairfax County’s announcement comes after Arlington Public Schools said it will close for up to 13 days in the event of bad weather before students would have to transition to virtual learning days.
In Virginia, school divisions have to provide students 180 days or 990 hours of class time to be in compliance with state law.
Meanwhile, Montgomery County, Maryland’s largest school system, will use the same inclement weather policy as last year, a spokesman said. It allows for either virtual learning or a full closure.