NJ school’s solution to snow? ‘Virtual Day’ for students
MONTVALE — A North Jersey school district will make up a snow day without asking students to set foot in school.
After superintendent Erik Gundersen cancelled classes on Wednesday for the Pascack Valley Regional High School district in Bergen County, he announced the day would be made up with a "Virtual Day" on Friday, April 6, during the school's spring break.
The district finds itself over its allotted budget of snow days by one, with Wednesday's cancellation leaving it short of a state requirement that districts complete 180 days per year. Many New Jersey schools are in the same situation and are taking away spring break and other previously scheduled days off.
"Understanding students may be traveling or not available to physically be in the school building, they will have the option to engage in their lessons virtually, either from home or school. The virtual day will 'count' as teachers will be in the schools and our facilities will be physically open, complying with the State mandate," Gunderson wrote.
He said that by using technology, the students will be better prepared for the online classes or telecommuting they may encounter in the future.
Gunderson tried a similar pilot program in 2014 when he used a "virtual day" to hold class during a snow day. State education officials called it innovative, but said it couldn't count as an official school day because state law also required school facilities be available. Ninety-six percent of students and every staff member logged in that day, according to Gunderson.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report