MSDE approves Harford County’s request; Virtual snow days to begin this January

Isabel Kropkowski, Features Editor

   As of Dec. 8, Harford County has been approved to have three virtual snow days this school year. 

     On Jan. 9, the county will have a “practice” of what an asynchronous day would look like. A tile will be added to Canvas for students to have all of their assignments for the day. This ensures that students and teachers know how to use Canvas if necessary for a snow day.

     The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) has allowed the county three virtual days, which will not be added onto the end of the school year. If the county has more than three of those days, extra days will be added to the end of the year and no more virtual days would happen this school year. 

     If a snow day occurs before Jan. 9th, the day will be a regular day off and added onto the end of the year.

     The inclement weather days will look different for everyone. For Pre-kindergarten students, they will be given bags of supplies for what is needed to have a successful day of learning from home. Kindergarten to 12th graders will have all of their work virtually through Canvas (HCPS).

     The virtual work poses many problems for people, including in the North Harford area – especially for those who have weak or no internet connections at their houses. However, there is a solution that was used in past years: the students can request for a mobile hotspot so work can be completed.

     Students in elementary, middle, and high schools have different time expectations of how long and much work students are given. Elementary students are given 20 minutes of work for math, reading and specials. Middle schoolers are given 20-30 minutes for each class they would have that day. High schoolers are to be given 30 minutes to one hour’s worth of work that is for the classes that were to be attended that day. There is a minimum of four hours of synchronous instruction. 

     Students have mixed emotions about the county’s decision, many students like not having days added to the end of the school year. Sophomore Eden Hussung says “ it is not awful because it means it will not add more days to the end of the year. But I’d like to be able to enjoy a day off to catch up on school and my personal life.” 

     Each teacher is being taught how to put an inclement weather button on Canvas which allows students to access their work for that day. Once the work is released, students have three days to complete the work given. If after those three days none of the work has been done, the teacher can then mark the student absent from that virtual day of school, according to HCPS.