Virtual Schools Gaining Traction in Wake of Super Storms

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February 22, 2015

More and more schools are assigning work to students even when schools are shut because of snow and ice.

As the cold, icy, and snowy weather continues to hit much of the United States, schools are turning increasingly to electronic methods of instruction and assessment. Some schools, such as a high school in Minnesota, have been doing this for awhile now.

In the latest storm, 13 public school districts in Kentucky got the go-ahead from their state bosses to trial virtual schooling, assigning work to students electronically. Teachers, also required to be available online during the school day, then monitored the students' work online.

Alternately, students who did not have access to computers or the Internet at home were given paper materials, with instruction to have all assignments completed within a certain timeframe.

All of the nearly 2,000 students in one Oklahoma district used laptops or tablets to complete their snow-day assignments. Other districts in other states reported similar results.

Feedback was varied, with some students reporting disappointment at having to work despite two feet of snow on the ground. Some parents having multiple children but one computer also reported difficulties with resource allocation.

Many districts have existing programs that encourage virtual learning.

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