Students, say goodbye to snow days – and say hello to school at home

Story highlights

Schools are facing extreme numbers of weather cancellations this year

Some schools are trying virtual school days to prevent learning interruptions

Individual educators have turned to online learning to keep students on track

CNN  — 

Earlier this month, Zak Terzini roused himself about five minutes before his English class began and didn’t panic. Instead, the high school sophomore grabbed his iPod and checked on a class discussion of “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” without even getting out of bed.

A snowstorm – another one – had canceled classes in the Pascack Valley Regional High School District in northern New Jersey, but educators and students wouldn’t be taking a day off. Before the snow fell, even before the official school cancellation call, teachers were prepped, parents were warned and students had received enough assignments to fill a snow day.

School leaders around the country are tearing up their calendars to cram in more teaching time after extreme numbers of weather cancellations. Some are eliminating holiday breaks and professional development plans, adding minutes and days to the school clock or even cutting recess and opening school on Saturdays.

But a few are trying something different: virtual school days that continue learning, even while staff and students are stuck at home.