STORY BY JOHNATHON HARRIS AND TAHMID KAWSAR
The Washoe County School District has implemented a new policy regarding how Snow Days will work this year. Snow Days are now becoming what are known as “Digital Days” and will be happening across the whole district. The digital day policy was piloted by Incline Village and its respective schools during the 2017-2018 year.
Schools are required to have a certain number of school days that must be made up, this resulted in contingency days being added to school calendar in the Washoe County School District.
Due to the new Digital Day policy, school will no longer have to be pushed back due to weather conditions like the 2017- 2018 school year.
A Digital Day will require a student to do certain assignments at home for each of their classes. These assignments are assigned by the teachers, and the times they are due is also their choice. Teachers are required to be available at least twice a day to assist students and answer questions using the chat function and/or email.
For classes such as Band, Drama and Physical Education, etc. students will also be required to do an assignment on Teams.
“I do wonder about the tech access” said Susanne Cann, the McQueen drama teacher. “I think it’s better than the alternative but the system is still flawed.”
If students do not have internet access during a digital day then their teacher will give them makeup work the day before or after the digital day. Students will be expected to make up the activities in the amount of time given with the attendance policy – absent day plus one.
“I do think it will be difficult to make sure students do the work” said Jill Merson, a McQueen English teacher.
On October 16th, 2018, McQueen did a practice day to teach students how to use Teams. There were some issues with submitting the assignments, but the issues will be looked over and resolved.
The program to access these assignments will be Microsoft Teams. Washoe County School District recommended Microsoft Teams because it is a part of the Office 365 suite that Washoe County Schools already use.
“We want to make it easy for kids and teachers to access and use Teams,” said Kristi Amundson, the assistant principal at McQueen.
Students will access the program by either downloading it onto your computer or phone and by accessing it online. Students will use their student ID followed by “@washoeschools.org”. Example: (firstname.lastname@example.org). The password for Teams will be the password students use to login on to the computers on campus.
Austen Loftus and Hannah Schultz contributed reporting