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Park City School District could turn to virtual learning during snow days

Highland Estates.
Kim Dainton
Highland Estates.

The Park City School District says it will consider adding an emergency virtual learning option for snow days.

When snow cancels class, students and teachers must make up the time. Right now, all Utah schools are required to build in five make-up snow days each year. Park City School District has five days set aside after the school year has technically ended. It also has a Teacher Professional Development Day in March that can be used as a make-up day.

During the district’s board meeting, Park City Education Association Co-President Mary Morgan said snow days are rare for the district but do happen.

“It’s my 26th year here and I can count on one hand how many times we’ve actually had a snow day, but they do happen.”

Last school year the record snowpack forced two snow days. One day was made up in March on the Professional Day, but the other had to be made up at the end of the school year.

Attendance for the make-up day at the end of the year was low. About 78% of Ecker Hill Middle School students and 65% of Trailside Elementary students were absent and Treasure Mountain Junior High and Park City High School only had one to two students for each class.

That’s why the district is proposing an emergency virtual learning option. Instead of building in make-up days throughout the school year and extending the school year by a week, virtual learning provides flexibility and allows the calendar to stay the same.

The Professional Day in March would still be available as a make-up day and if another day is needed, classes can continue online through video conferencing.

The Park City School District Board will discuss using virtual learning instead of in-person makeup days at its next meeting on Feb. 13.