SYRACUSE — When school is cancelled by the Wawasee Community School Corporation due to weather, it’s no longer a totally free day for students and teachers. But those days no longer have to be made up either.
Technology has paved the way for learning to continue electronically on inclement weather days due to the implementation of eLearning days with the 2017-18 school year. The first two eLearning days were Monday, Jan. 8, and Friday, Jan. 12.
Wawasee students have electronic devices and are able to complete assignments with their computers. Assignments are posted by teachers by 9 a.m. unless a two-hour delay was called first. If that occurs, assignments are to be posted by 10 a.m.
Indiana Department of Education allows eLearning days to be used in the place of a regular school day when classes are cancelled due to weather. Those days do not have to be made up later.
Attendance is taken based on assignment completion. Students are given two full days after an eLearning day to turn assignments in.
Some students do not have internet access at home, noted Joy Goshert, assistant superintendent, but other options are available such as public libraries. Schools have stayed open later or their media centers have been made available later. Wawasee High School’s media center was open Saturday, Jan. 13, for four hours though only three students came in for help that day.
“We are trying to find more ways for internet access,” Goshert noted. In addition, a technical support line has been set up and can be accessed by calling the central office at (574) 457-3188.
Since eLearning is new this school year, it is still a work in progress. In addition to dealing with some students not having internet access at home, another area needing to be addressed is students in grades kindergarten and first needing more adult support.
Feedback has been mostly positive, Goshert said, though some parents have noted their work schedules create conflicts with eLearning days.
Between the first and second eLearning days, the number of calls for technical support dropped considerably, so apparently some of the glitches and bugs were worked out.
Though it is not required by the state, Wawasee chose to implement a policy of no more than two eLearning days in a row. If a third one is needed, a Saturday could be scheduled.