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How Spokane, Mead school districts will handle snow days this year

The districts both have students who are learning in-person and others learning virtually but they're going about snow days a little differently.

SPOKANE, Wash — Two Spokane-area school districts will be handling snow days a little differently this school year due to virtual learning.

The Mead and Spokane school districts both have students who are learning in-person and others learning virtually but they're going about snow days a little differently.

Spokane Public Schools Associate Superintendent Mark Anderson said when it snows significantly overnight, they will do a two-hour delay for in-person classes. 

If it snows enough, Anderson said SPS will cancel classes for all students and have to make up the day later in the school year. He said that they wouldn't transition to all-virtual learning because of complications of where students have their computers and staff’s ability to get to schools.

SPS Superintendent Adam Swinyard said snow days are not built into the school calendar this year. In the event of a closures, Swinyard said the school year would likely extend into June. 

The Mead School District sent out an alert to students and families about its winter weather plans.

District leaders said by 6 a.m. the district will notify parents of the closure by phone, text, email, local TV and radio station and the district’s social media platforms.

“The 2020-21 academic year has brought many unique challenges, but one opportunity is the ability to transition to a full remote learning day in the event of a school closure,” the district said in a note to parents. “Students throughout the district are becoming more familiar with their school-issued Chromebook with each passing day. This prepares us to make a smooth transition in the short amount of time between a closure decision and the start of school.”

If school closes for the day, students will transition into full remote learning and students should be prepared by bringing their laptops home every day, district leaders said. Teachers will take attendance, provide instructions and give information via Seesaw or Google classroom.

“The advantage to our district with transitioning to a full remote learning day, as opposed to the cancellation of school, is to alleviate the need for makeup days at the end of the academic calendar,” district leaders said. “Previously scheduled ‘snow days’ were already used when the district experienced cancellations due to wildfire smoke in September.”

If the district decides to do a two-hour late start, elementary schools will proceed with their day at 11:10 a.m., secondary will start at 10:05 and middle school will start at 10:10 a.m.