‘Cyber snow days’ coming to Pennsylvania?
As Philadelphia’s public and Catholic schools are closed for snow yet again Monday, one Pennsylvania legislator would like to see students in a different kind of classroom when inclement weather makes it unsafe for them to travel to their schools.
During a recent education budget hearing, state Sen. Elder A. Vogel (R-Beaver County) queried Education Secretary Carolyn Dumaresq about the possibility of implementing what Dumaresq labeled “cyber snow days” across Pennsylvania, according to Newsworks.org.
Vogel noted a Catholic school within his legislative district has already ended snow days by having its students go online when school officials deem roads too hazardous. Monsignor Bonner & Archbishop Prendergast Catholic High School in Drexel Hill, Delaware County, implemented its own cyber snow days program in mid-February.
Dumaresq acknowledged the idea is an intriguing one, but she raised concerns about equal access for all students. For instance, the 2010 Census showed that less than half of homes in Philadelphia had computers with broadband capabilities, which would be necessary to have students bring their classrooms into their homes.
Dumaresq also expressed concern with cyber snow days being able to fulfill objectives of individualized education programs for special-education students.
Vogel has not drafted a bill proposing cyber snow days. He told Newsworks he understands such a plan may only be feasible in “districts a little bit more on the wealthy side, obviously, unfortunately.”