Remote learning snow days are coming to ORR School District

Nov 19, 2020

Many remember snow days as times to bundle up and have snowball fights, drink hot cocoa and build a snowman. But for students in the Old Rochester Regional School District, those surprise days off might end up being remembered as just more time behind a computer screen, looking at the snow through a window.

The district’s Joint School Committee voted unanimously at a Nov. 19 meeting to give Superintendent Michael Nelson discretion as to whether snow and inclement weather days should be remote learning days.

“I would use my judgement,” Nelson said, on whether to conduct remote learning on days when it’s unsafe to travel to and from school. He said that factors like power outages from wind storms would come into play. 

But Nelson said the decision would come down to more than just conditions in the school district. 

“Many of our teachers live in Dartmouth,” Nelson said, adding that remote learning would make sense for “the majority of our school community.” 

The committee also discussed the removal of built-in snow days from the school calendar. 

Old Rochester Regional High School principal Michael Devoll said that he doesn’t know of any educator who wouldn’t trade a day in the middle of the school year for one in June. He also said those winter days are important for Advanced Placement and Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System tests.

“Those test dates don’t change,” Devoll said. “So a lost day of instruction is harmful.” 

Devoll added that he thinks even power outages can be worked around with proper planning.