Vernon schools limit snow days

Vernon. Power outages that cut off remote learning would be counted as a full snow day.

Vernon /
19 Nov 2020 | 02:13

Vernon schools superintendent Karen D’Avino floated a plan that would combine snow days and virtual days when inclement weather hits the district.

D’Avino said last Thursday that the goal is to use no more than three snow days during the 2020-21 school year.

“Now, if there’s significant weather, power outages, state of emergency and no access to Wi-Fi, that would be a full snow day,” D’Avino said. “There would be no virtual learning. That wouldn’t be fair.”

The final day of school is currently scheduled for Tuesday, June 14. D’Avino’s goal is to use no more than three snow days, where the final day of school would be Friday, June 18.

“This was prompted by the strange weather on Oct. 30,” D’Avino said. “But it’s Vernon, and it snows.”

During lockdown, D’Avino said, students worked through their spring break thinking the lockdown would end in June.

“Who knew it would still be going on,” she said.

She acknowledged there are times when everyone needs a short break, especially with the stress felt by teachers, parents, and students keeping up with Zoom meetings.

“Those surprises are little gifts in the middle of the winter,” D’Avino said.

School board member Brad Sparta noted that snowstorms sometime keep schools closed for several days. He suggested calling a snow day the first day of the storm and then re-evaluate going forward.

School board member Theresa Scura-Coughlin said Vernon is the second-largest town in the state and has a varied geography, in which one area might have power and another may not.

“We’re not a town that’s 10 square miles and has consistency,” she said.

Earlier in the meeting, the school board discussed the possibility of declining mental health among students as they continue to endure the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic and virtual learning. Scura-Coughlin said snow days can help.

“So many students failing has been blamed on depression, but I do believe those little gifts of snow days decrease anxiety and help mental health,” Scura-Coughlin said.

“So many students failing has been blamed on depression, but I do believe those little gifts of snow days decrease anxiety and help mental health.” Theresa Scura-Coughlin