In the land of 10,000 lakes, two things are certain: snow, and snow days. But since the COVID-19 pandemic, snow days have had a bit of a remodeling thanks to the introduction of e-learning, and now, some school districts in the northland have begun to implement the use of e-learning during snow days.
“It’s a great opportunity for kiddos to be able to learn at home, and continue what they’re doing,” said Menahga School District Superintendent Jason Kjos.
“We’re able to administratively and with our staff and our families kinda come back as seamlessly as possible,” said Menahga High School Principal Michael Schmidt. “And I think that’s really one of the strengths that technology has lent itself to districts and families.”
As one might expect, e-learning looks different depending on if the student is attending a high school or an elementary school.
“Elementary looks more like activity packets, paper and pencil work that they can do that can contribute to what’s going on in class already,” explained Menahga Elementary School Principal Margaux Hylla.
“With the high school, staff are able to put out digital assignments, digital activities,” said Schmidt. “Our kids, they really do connect a little more fluidly throughout the day, if you will, there is some freedom the older you get as a teenager, but the curriculum varies as much as their classes in a seven-period day.”
Some might worry that e-learning deprives students of the opportunity to get outside and enjoy the snow, but according to school officials, kids will still get that chance.
“It’s not like they have a seven-hour packed day, we have activities throughout the day, so it’s not taking away some of that kid time, too,” said Hylla. “And they always have activities, things to do outside, those kinds of things.”
“As a teenager on a snow day? Maybe you’re doing your homework from the fish house while you’re wrenching on a snowmobile,” joked Schmidt. “There’s still that little bit of play in that e-learning day, if you will.”
According to Minnesota Legislature, schools that choose to implement e-learning are allowed a total of five e-learning days.
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