Iowa schools choose snow days and online-only school days following winter storm

With many students in the QCA already learning from their living room, some schools chose to just do online learning
Published: Jan. 26, 2021 at 6:53 PM CST
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PLEASANT VALLEY, Iowa (KWQC) - “There’s something special about a snow day too that there’s excitement around it,” Pleasant Valley Superintendent Brian Strusz said.

Many students across the day were given the day off Tuesday as some areas in the QCA saw over eight inches of snow following a wintery storm that arrived Monday afternoon.

But not all students in the QCA had the day off, students in Clinton had all of their classwork online today, but had the decision made for them on Monday, heading into the storm.

“I think by just announcing yesterday that today would be a virtual day, everybody kind of gets the mindset that this is what we’re going to do, we’re allowing staff to work from home today, recognizing the challenges of the weather and that and actually I’ve been on this morning in five or six different classrooms,” Clinton Superintendent Gary DeLacy said, “So far I’ve been very pleased with what I’ve seen.”

Strusz chose to go with the snow day for PV.

“We talked to our teachers about the importance of kids being in school learning face-to-face, we didn’t know what it’d be like if kids were at home on a snow day, would they rather be outside in the snow versus being in the house doing 8 o’clock to 3:30 snow day all online,” he said.

The decision comes with much more weight than usual for districts, as Iowa schools wait on a potential mandate from Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds that could make schools return to 100% in-person learning.

“Everything that we’re learning right now at this point is that potentially by Thursday the Governor could sign a bill that would require the option to come back 100%, in addition, we see there’s a lot of other bills that are currently being discussed that were watching very closely at this time,” Strusz said.

If COVID numbers trend in a favorable direction, DeLacy sees a clear timeline ahead for the Clinton District.

“We’re scheduled to get our first vaccinations next week and one of the things I really want them to do is get the staff fully vaccinated which would really target us right after Spring Break, which would be mid-March where we would probably convert from hybrid to 100% in-person,” he said.

But understands that things can change quickly.

“If we had a spike like we had experienced in November, even though we were vaccinated, it probably wouldn’t be the best decision, but if things are sort of suppressed like they are being suppressed right now in Clinton County and I do get my staff vaccinated, I think we’re at a point where we really do need to look at moving to 100% option,” Delacy said.

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