South reinforces “snow day” policies

Olivia Richards and Isaiah Yang

Students may remember waking up to intense blizzards that resulted in snow days, but due to a renewed District 225 policy from 2019, these days will now be a distant memory. This policy will implement asynchronous learning during inclement weather, keeping school online and eliminating the need for added-on school days at the end of the year, Principal Dr. Barbara Georges said.

During asynchronous learning, students will submit an attendance form on Google Classroom, Georges explained. Students will receive class material from their teachers by 9:00 a.m., and teachers will decide when the work will be due, she said. Aside from these restrictions, students will be free to choose their own school schedule for completing their work, Georges said.

“When teachers post assignments in Google Classroom, [students will] be able to view them and make [their] plans for the day. Teachers are [also] available to provide support from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., [which is] the full school day” Georges said. 

Asynchronous days will count as a full day of school, meaning that students will not have to make it up at the end of the year, which also benefits teachers deciding learning material, and year-end activities such as graduation, District 225 Superintendent Dr. Charles Johns said.

When considering whether or not to call an asynchronous day, Johns evaluates the inclement climate, including snow, ice, and other extreme conditions by 6:30 a.m, Georges said. Once he makes his decision, students and families will receive an email, a phone call, or an alert from local television and radio stations notifying them of the school’s decision to hold an asynchronous day, Georges said. 

Road conditions will also be taken into consideration due to the importance of students and staff arriving to school safely, Georges added. 

Another factor taken into consideration when creating the new policy include WiFi access, Johns said. If students are unable to learn from home due to a lack of WiFi, they can email the help desk via South’s website for free personal WiFi devices that can be obtained for an extended time, Johns explained.

Junior Erica Werblow prefers asynchronous days to snow days because there is no need to make up school at the end of the year.

“I would rather [have asynchronous days] than stay in school longer,” Werblow said. “I do not feel like the lack of snow [days will] affect my mental health.”

However, Social Studies teacher Matt Whipple misses the traditional snow day, as it was an unexpected bonus break. 

“I miss the tradition of a snow day,” Whipple said. “[It was a day where] you could read a book, listen to music, watch a movie, or play in the snow. But in the grand scheme, it’s the least of my worries. Do I [need] a snow day? No, but I’d like to [have one].”