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Should schools return to virtual learning the next time it snows?

Posted at 5:39 PM, Jan 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-06 18:15:13-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- With the potential for more winter weather in Central Virginia comes the potential for a shift in learning style for students in Richmond.

"We can't continue to lose instructional days," Julie, a mother of two Richmond students, said.

Julie Trevy has a freshman at Maggie Walker and a sixth-grader at Albert Hill.

"There's nothing holding us back from enabling virtual instruction. We know how to do it. We did it longer as a district than any of the surrounding counties," Julie said.

She supports Richmond Public Schools' decision to allow students to continue instruction virtually on Friday in the event that snow or ice keeps them home from class.

"We should try at a minimum because the kids are behind," Julie said.

However, the idea of using virtual learning on snow days has sparked a debate in the community. Some parents are concerned about those who may lose power on these inclement weather days.

RPS spokesperson Sarah Abubaker said the district plans for at least some connectivity issues but reassures that technical support will be on standby to assist as needed.

"Every student will get a Chromebook," Abubaker said.

This includes all kindergarteners, she said. Teachers have been instructed to show children how to use the laptops. Many other students already had Chromebooks since the beginning of the year so Abubaker expects a smooth transition if necessary.

"We've come a long way in the last two years in terms of technology and virtual learning so we are prepared," Abubaker said.