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McAbee discusses Carter County Schools and ‘snow days’

As winter looms and snow approaches, remote learning has more benefits.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, schools have turned to other learning options when in-person may not be the safest route. Schools throughout the area are currently on a form of hybrid schedules. These schedules got a bit hectic this week as snow made its debut.
Carter County Schools are no stranger to “snow days.”
Each year, as snow falls, school closures due to weather scroll across the bottom of the television screen. These days could typically range from one to multiple depending on snow amounts in different parts of the county.
Tracy McAbee, director of Carter County Schools, says that on days like earlier this week when roads are slick due to weather, virtual learning can be used to continue instruction.
“The biggest potential benefit is that the children of Carter County can still have contact with their teachers in a virtual format,” he explained. “I want to focus on the whole child, academics is part of it, but also interacting with their peers and teacher in a virtual format.”
McAbee is not alone in using virtual learning to continue class. School systems across the country are optimizing the use of virtual learning to continue class, to a degree, when snow makes an appearance.
This does not mean the end of “snow days,” however.
McAbee explained that on worsened weather days, which could limit power, internet, etc., schools would of course be closed, online as well.
“It’s not that there will never ever be a snow day, just maybe not 13 snow days,” he said.
These stockpiled days set aside for snow go beyond just that. McAbee explained that stockpiled days can be used for professional development, instructional planning meetings, IEP team meetings, etc. Some of these days were used earlier in the school year as the school board delayed the opening of school due to the COVID-19 pandemic. McAbee expressed his desire to use remaining days wisely.
While the COVID-19 pandemic will hopefully not be here to stay, virtual learning will be. McAbee said that beyond the virus, the use of online learning is something that will continue to serve as a tool for learning.
“Virtual learning is here to stay. So yes, there is potential for virtual platforms to be used to help our children throughout the school year,” said McAbee.