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Virtual learning could be a game-changer for the future of snow days

Getting to stay home from school isn't what it used to be now that so many school districts are used to virtual learning.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A week of winter weather is a time where parents hope for the best, and kids cross their fingers the forecast will be just bad enough that we'll report your school is closed.

One parent sharing a more mature concern, "I'm hoping that it's light and everybody keeps their electricity. That's what we're worried about."

While most of the kids we spoke to chanted for snow.

But staying home from school doesn't necessarily mean what it used to.

Little Rock School District Superintendent Michael Poore saying, "We made a decision in the best interest of safety to go ahead and move to an AMI day tomorrow."

An AMI, or virtual school day, has been used more often amid the pandemic in districts like the LRSD. Now showing that even with harsh weather outside, school can continue online.

"When AMI first was created, really was pretty weak in terms of the educational delivery now. It's actually pretty rich," Poore added.

And while an important option for schools coming close to their limit on built-in days off, it also brings snow days closer to extinction.

"We couldn't just say, 'hey, it's a snow day, everybody's off.' We needed to continue to make this an instructional day," Poore added.

But if kids we spoke to had their say of virtual lessons or cancellation tomorrow? It was a resounding "Snow day!"

And even some parents chimed in with support, reminiscing on their own days off.

One parent telling us, "It's a good idea to have snow days. It kind of takes away some of the fun of being a kid if you don't have snow days."

But with a school closing list that's more virtual than actual days off, the future of weather cancelling lesson plans, looked bleak. So we went straight to the top for answers-- from the Secretary of Education Johnny Key.

"I don't think it will be the end of snow days. I think that's an element that will continue... We always enjoy a snow day. So it's good for kids to get to have fun with snow days," he said.

But virtual or not, and kid or not, everyone was focused on keeping storm safety a priority.

One boy telling us he's practically "hoping that we are out of school, but [the storm] does no damage."

A full updated list of school closures for the week can be found on our website here.


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