At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools shifted to virtual learning for their students. While in-person instruction is back, with the ability to use virtual learning, some argue that schools do not necessarily need to close down for the day in the event of bad weather, such as snow. DMGS previously covered this topic at the end of 2021, but lawmakers are still considering the issue in 2023.
New Jersey: Competing Bills to Address Snow Days
In March 2022, one New Jersey lawmaker introduced legislation that would urge the Department of Education to require school districts to keep snow days instead of remote instruction. AR120 notes that snow days are “nostalgic” and provide students with a short break from school. The resolution would find that virtual learning burdens parents, and replacing snow days with remote learning would cause students to lose a long-held tradition.
The resolution was introduced in response to A2199/S464, which would allow public schools to meet the 180-instructional-day requirement in a school year through virtual instruction when the school closes due to bad weather or other emergencies.
Although the Senate passed S464 unanimously in March 2022, neither the resolution nor the bills had been substantively advanced as of January 2023.
Virginia: No More Snow Days?
State lawmakers pre-filed legislation, HB 1666, in early January 2023 that would require schools to declare an unscheduled remote learning day in the event of severe weather conditions or other emergencies that result in the school closing for in-person instruction. Under current law, such unscheduled remote learning days are allowed but not mandatory. The bill would also require that no school division in Virginia could have more than ten unscheduled remote learning days in a single school year unless the Superintendent of the Department of Education grants an extension.
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