If enough snow falls to warrant a closing of schools Burlington students will not be learning remotely.
Superintendent Eric Conti said at Tuesday’s School Committee meeting that after hearing from parents, in particular from parents of special education students, he has decided that any additional closings this year will be traditional snow days and not remote learning sessions. Any snow days will be added to the end of the school year in June.
“Hopefully it’s moot because it’s spring,” he told BNEWS. “But if not, if we do need another snow day, it will be a traditional snow day meaning we won’t have school and we’ll add that day to the end of the year.”
The issue came up two weeks ago at a previous committee meeting when a representative Burlington’s Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) raised concerns about the quality of education for special education students when classes are remote. She said that because snow days are unplanned parents have very little time to make a plan, an issue made more acute when working with a special education student. She also said the lack of teacher aids and other support on remote learning days also means a less impactful educational experience.
This week, another mother of a special education student, Beth Colburn, said she would prefer snow days be made up at the end of the year because it means more in-person instruction for her child.
“When you’re in special ed, every minute counts,” she said. “If my son is not getting the best education during a remote snow day, I’m concerned because everything is hard for him and I want him to have the best possible circumstances when he’s receiving his education.”
School Committee member Martha Simon agreed.
“I want to support what you’re saying about children with special needs and how the services are just not the same when they’re remote,” she said. “I think that’s also true of the typical students in the general ed classrooms. This year I think traditional snow days is the way I’d like to see us go. There’s been so much disruption and so little time in school that if we have to extend the year to have another day in school then that’s a really good idea.”