Snow Day Plan Approved, Winter Weather May Prompt Online Classes In Anne Arundel County


State Superintendent of Schools Mohammed Choudhury recently approved Anne Arundel County Public Schools’ plan to have online classes on some snow days. AACPS announced the news on Oct. 4. An AACPS sign is shown here on another day. (Jacob Baumgart/Patch)

ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, MD - Anne Arundel County's snow day plan was recently approved, meaning students may have online classes during some winter storms.

Not every inclement weather day will trigger virtual instruction, however. Mark Bedell, superintendent of Anne Arundel County Public Schools, will decide on a case-by-case basis. There may still be traditional days without class during some winter storms.

“We’re not looking to take away snow days from our students,” Bedell said in an Oct. 4 press release announcing the news. “But what we are saying is that there will be cases where snow may be projected and snow may not hit the way that we think it’s going to hit, and now we’re sitting in ice and slush or things of that nature where we will not allow for a day to go wasted.”

Bedell hopes this will prevent snow days from getting tacked onto the end of the school year, which shortens summer vacation.

The school board adopted a similar plan last year for online classes on snow days. The protocol also aligns with the outline set by the Maryland State Department of Education.

Bedell proposed this year's plan on Sept. 6, and the Anne Arundel County Board of Education accepted public comments until Sept. 15. The school board voted in favor on Sept. 20. State Superintendent of Schools Mohammed Choudhury approved the proposal soon after. 

AACPS can now have online instruction on up to eight days. Those lessons may be synchronous, meaning live, or asynchronous, meaning prerecorded. No more than three days may be asynchronous.

Other rules include:

  • There must be at least four hours of instruction for synchronous virtual days.
  • No student’s grade will be negatively impacted by a virtual day. Students must be provided with meaningful in-person opportunities for instruction.
  • No employee’s pay will be negatively impacted by the use of a virtual instructional day.

The school system said it will announce plans for online days beforehand whenever the forecast allows.

All AACPS students and staff have devices they can use for virtual classes.

Online classes were the norm during the pandemic, but Bedell's plan doesn't call for sustained virtual instruction in case of COVID-19 outbreaks. The current plan is still to continue in-person classes.

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