MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Students in Monongalia County may not have been in their school buildings Wednesday, but they still accrued a day of learning.
“Today was the first of those [Arctic Academy] days,” Monongalia County Assistant Superintendent Donna Talerico said. “Obviously, because of the frigid temperatures and some of the precipitation that had occurred over the last few days, we took advantage of this opportunity.”
The Arctic Academy includes five days where students can be taught remotely as an alternative to going to school when inclement weather becomes an obstacle. In particular, Talerico said Wednesday was a good first day to use it because faculty could get to school safely.
“Roadways were fairly clear,” she said. “The cold, of course, prohibited us from thinking that it would be safe for children to be out at bus stops.”
Hour-by-hour forecasting shows temperatures were below zero parts of Wednesday morning in Morgantown. Although students wouldn’t receive the same amount of course work as they would during a normal school day, Talerico said it’s a better alternative than continuing to extend the school year.
“It’s not a regular day, obviously,” she said. “The amount of time dedicated is less than a regular school day.”
But, even with the shortened day from the comfort of their own home, students are able to access course-specific assignments and more generic assignments.
“We have grade level assignment by teacher grade and by school,” Talerico said. “But we also have some generic opportunities for students to learn how to do test preparation, particularly at our high schools.”
Students in third grade and older used electronic chrome books that had access to previously downloaded assignments while younger students use a take-home packet.
“We’re at the best of that [technological] world, but tomorrow there is always new possibilities,” Talerico said. “We are continuing to explore ways to stay connected to the students, and the ability to do that is just enhanced tremendously through technology.”
Schools are permitted to use up to five Arctic Academy days each school year. Wednesday was supposed to be the first day back for students since Dec. 22.