Winter Wishes Wash Away as New Policy is Introduced


As we embark on the winter season, a new inclement weather virtual asynchronous work policy was put into place in Howard County. The policy will require teachers to submit assignments for students into Canvas by 9 a.m. during the snow day, and students fear their favorite snow day activities, such as sledding down hills, making hot chocolate. As junior Gracie Taylor said, her favorite snow day activities of“ eating snow and building things,” may not occur.
The Inclement Weather Asynchronous Instruction Plan will consist of repurposing up to three inclement weather days as asynchronous work days. Elementary school students will receive their instruction on the HCPSS website, and middle and high school students will access their work through Canvas. Students will have ten days to complete all work assigned on these days.
Superintendent Dr. Martirano explains that this policy will be initiated on November 4 and he detailed when these asynchronous work days will take place.
“It is my intention to utilize this option as the first three inclement weather days, barring extreme circumstances, such as a countywide internet outage and major blizzard. Once all three inclement weather asynchronous instruction days have been used, we will notify staff, students and families, and all remaining weather-related incidents will be used as traditional inclement weather days,” Dr. Martirano said.
When students heard of the new asynchronous work policy for snow days, they had mixed feelings. Although the policy seems reasonable to some, many students argue that there shouldn’t be any change to inclement weather days at all.
“I don’t like it. I think we should have the day off… No one’s actually [doing the work] because the work is due a week after. It’s like why don’t we get the assignment the day we go back to school after it?” freshman Grayson Nelias said.
Howeve, some students don’t necessarily mind the new policy.
“I like it because we won’t have a longer school year like last year and will have a longer summer,” junior Zarmeen Javed commented.
Students were not the only ones who were feeling divided about this new change; teachers also shared their thoughts about the policy and the work they will assign.
“I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it. I like that we don’t have to do the face-to-face [Google Meet] but, you know, I don’t think it would be horrible to give review activities, stuff that students need extra practice on so that I can use those snow days to do it,” math teacher Ms. Hawkins stated.
As for AP students, many wonder what their assignments will look like on these days since they follow a tight schedule for the AP test that will take place in the beginning of May. Mr. Khouri gives an example on how his AP asynchronous assignments will be structured.
“I will try to keep it as similar to what we were going to do in class as possible, but I think most of the assignments will be short, pretty straightforward, that we’ll either review or prepare for what we did in class or what we’re doing in class the next time I see the students,” he shared.
Although snow days may not look the same this year with the new asynchronous assignments, there will still be regular snow days after three inclement weather days are used. So as we dive deeper into winter, students and teachers alike hope that they can fully enjoy their three traditional snow days before they become accustomed to some potential asynchronous learning.