What will “snow days” look like for Springfield Public Schools?

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — If winter weather in the 2021-22 school year forces Springfield students to miss more than three days, the system could switch to virtual learning for “snow days” after that.

SPS Spokesman Stephen Hall told Ozarks First Wednesday that a proposal for that change was made at Tuesday night’s board meeting and will be voted on at the Dec. 8 board meeting.

“We would have three regular snow days,” Hall said, “and those would be added to the end of the school year. After three, we’d switch to virtual.”

The proposal was made after study by the schools’ calendar committee, with significant feedback from parents and staff, he said. Patrons who wish to comment on the proposal before the Dec. 8 meeting are encouraged to contact the schools to share their thoughts.

The change is proposed in the light of legislative changes that bar public schools from beginning instruction before the first Monday in September, coupled with the system’s desire to end the first semester by winter break (partially due to the number of secondary students dually enrolled) and maintain June & July for extended learning opportunities, according to a presentation made Tuesday to the board of education.

“Alternative Methods of Instruction … is part of this proposed calendar,” the presentation says. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education “now allows opportunities for instruction even when buildings are closed, and includes for inclement weather.

“In the past, we have built-in six (6) make-up days. This calendar includes a hybrid of canceling school the first three (3) days to be made up at the end of the year, but continuing learning starting upon the fourth (4th) inclement weather day through virtual instruction.”

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