December 16, 2020
Richard Bozza, executive director of the New Jersey Association of School Administrators, said the group has been pushing, since long before the pandemic, for allowing remote-learning days to be an option for districts that would rather not lose a day of instruction due to inclement weather.
With that right, Bozza said, districts will have a better shot at maintaining a reasonable schedule during a snow-heavy winter. Instead of needing to lengthen the school year due to multiple snow days, or shorten breaks, districts can switch to a remote day and keep their schedules in tact.
"If I have built in three inclement weather days that don't adjust my schedule, what happens when a fourth or fifth or six does?" Bozza said. "I think most people would want to take advantage of a virtual day rather than taking what's typically been called a snow day."
Bozza said if he were still a superintendent and virtual days were an alternative to snow days in the future, he'd likely give kids off on the built-in days, then switch to remote learning for future bad-weather days — he believes a number of superintendents would go this route as well.
According to the New Jersey School Boards Association, the vast majority of school districts in the Garden State build snow days into their calendars.
Bozza said the abilities of New Jersey schools to deliver a remote learning day have improved drastically over the past nine months, so the state is much more prepared than in years past to easily convert an in-person day to a remote day in the event of foul weather.
"I think given our experience during this pandemic, we'll have much greater success talking to that point in the next legislative year," Bozza said.