District to use Virtual Instructional Days on school closures
In the event of a school closure due to wintry weather or COVID-19, Lower Dauphin will use “virtual instructional days” where learning takes place online via face-to-face instruction and small group work during a set schedule. A student can attend class online as if it were a regular school day and meet with their teachers and even have special classes like art, music and physical education.
Prior to the start of the school year, the district planned to use “flexible instructional days” where students’ instruction is done via packets, worksheets and written assignments and would not follow any set schedule.
With the increase of COVID cases leading up to the start of the school year, the state Department of Education allowed school districts to utilize virtual instructional days to ensure students receive the required amount of educational days and hours. The state has granted school districts the ability to utilize an unlimited number of virtual instructional days for the 2021-22 school year.
To prevent confusion which might have occurred by having two different types of instructional days when schools are closed, the district has decided to only use the virtual instructional day option this year.
“With two different options for instruction during a closure, we want to minimize confusion with our families and staff,” Superintendent Rob Schultz said. “A sudden school closure due to weather or a COVID outbreak can be stressful. It was important to us that everyone was on the same page so our students’ education isn’t adversely impacted.”
The district’s ability to use virtual instructional days expires at the end of this school year, but it is approved to use flexible instructional days for the next two years.
“Hopefully, we will reach a point where we’re only closing due to weather and we can implement the flexible days,” Dr. Schultz said.
The district was forced to close schools on September 2 due to Hurricane Ida which was too early in the school year to implement a virtual instructional day. That day will be made-up on Friday, February 18, 2022.
Below is the schedule to be used on virtual instructional days at the secondary level: