Weather impacts in-person learning

Published: Jan. 21, 2022 at 6:28 PM EST
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CABELL COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- It’s the time of year when students may be spending more time outside sledding or building a snowman, rather than inside the classroom.

“Tuesday ended up being a snow day as well as Thursday,” Brian Casto said.

Some will trickle off to Casto’s class to learn about West Virginia history. Casto says if there’s anything he’s learned during his 14 years of teaching, it’s that you have to be one step ahead and keep preparing to get kids back on track when school gets called off, because of bad weather.

“Trying to think of where did we leave off, is that something that’s an easy concept that we could cover quickly or if it’s something that we just started talking about then we’re going to have to talk about that a lot more to kind of recap,” Casto said.

As ice and snow pack onto roads combined with temperatures falling so low, superintendents face a tough decision on whether or not they should keep schools open.

“We don’t take any of those decisions lightly. They’re very complicated sometimes,” Cabell County Schools Superintendent Ryan Saxe said.

Saxe says a lot of factors go into making the decision to call off school.

The district has up to five remote learning days where students learn virtually from home and teachers report to school to help teach the lessons.

“However, if we feel like the roads could be just treacherous enough to be compromising safety, then we’re going to air on the side of keeping everyone safe and closing schools if that’s what the weather calls for,” Saxe said.

The district says there is the potential for a Non-Traditional Instruction day (NTI) when dangerous weather hits. However, when obstacles such as lack of internet strike, due to fallen power lines for example, the superintendent says it’s best to hold out.

“There’s times when there’s power outages and internet outages, which do not make ideal situations for remote learning activities,” Saxe said. “It’s not just about the task of getting a lesson done, it’s about the quality of learning, the experience for the students, and are the students going to be supported in the ways they need to be supported in their learning if there is a remote day.”

So, as the prime time for snow makes its way into our region, the district is taking it one day at a time, and making sure to keep safety as a top priority.

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