AACPS Virtual Learning During Inclement Weather Day Plan

  • Below you will find the AACPS plan for instruction during inclement weather days when students and staff are not able to be learning inside our schools.  This plan was approved by the AACPS Board of Education at its February 2, 2022 meeting and subsequently approved by Maryland’s State Superintendent of Schools.

    MSDE

    Overview

    In anticipation of inclement weather days, i.e., snow days, in the 2021-2022 school year, the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) has opened up a pathway for local school systems to repurpose inclement weather days as virtual school days. To ensure meaningful and equitable virtual instruction during inclement days, pursuant to the Superintendent’s authority under Education Article §2-303, the following process and attestations have been established to seek approval to repurpose an inclement weather day into a virtual school day. The Virtual Inclement Weather Day Plan applies to the 2021-2022 school year only.

    Devices and Access to Wi-Fi

    Describe the school system’s plan to ensure that all students (including students with disabilities, homeless students, and English learners) and teachers have the necessary devices at home for virtual inclement weather days and have access to Wi-Fi.

    Since the start of the pandemic in March of 2020, Anne Arundel County Public Schools has focused its efforts on ensuring that all students have the necessary devices at home to engage in virtual learning.  Every AACPS student has been issued a Chromebook for home use.  In addition, we have worked with our Internet Service Providers to make sure that students and their families have Internet Service.  We have issued mobile hot spots to all families who are without internet, but within cell tower range to acquire the internet signal. There is one location in the southernmost region of Anne Arundel County that is not served by any Internet Service Providers.  There are also no cell towers in this community’s vicinity and, therefore no hotspot or mobile internet connection devices work to bring the Internet into this community. 

    Approximately ten students in this community needed our support to access virtual learning in the past.  During Virtual Inclement Weather (VIW) days, we will offer to transport students in this small community to a nearby location where they will be able to engage in virtual learning with their peers.  If the weather is too severe to transport these students, they will be able to connect with their peers via Google Meet sessions through a voice-only connection if they have a phone available for use at home.  Via telephone, they will be able to connect with their teacher and the class.  Additionally, teachers will place the VIW day’s work in our Learning Management System, Brightspace, so that students have access to these materials when they return to school or when they get to a relative’s or friend’s home where there is an Internet connection available.

    Accommodations

    Describe the plan to implement the student’s current IEP during the virtual inclement weather day (including specially designed instruction, related services, supplementary aides and services, and accommodations).

    As we did during the 2020-2021 school year, we have a plan to meet the needs of students with IEPs and 504s.  Using our new Learning Management System, Brightspace, we can digitally house all AACPS academic and social emotional learning resources and support materials for student use.  Using Google Meet, teachers and related service providers will connect with their students live for synchronous instruction or individual support services throughout the day.  Specialized services will be provided synchronously following the Individual Continuity of Learning Plans per each individual student’s IEP. Our English Learning Development (ELD) students will connect live with their teachers in their classrooms via Google Meet as well.  ESOL teachers and other Teaching Assistants and support personnel will be present in these Google Meet sessions. Accommodations will be honored to the extent we can do so in the virtual environment.

    Opportunity for Engagement

    The Virtual Inclement Weather Day Plan must be publicly presented and discussed at a local school board meeting.

    The AACPS Virtual Inclement Weather Day (VIW Day) Plan was publicly presented and discussed at a School Board meeting on February 2, 2022.  The plan was posted on the Board of Education’s website and public comment was invited.

    Date of Local Board Meeting(s): Biweekly meetings on Wednesday afternoon or evening as per the AACPS BOE meeting schedule.

    Communication Process

    Describe the communication process to students, teachers, parents/guardians, etc. that the inclement weather day will or will not be virtual and the plan for instruction.

    All students and families have been made aware of the importance of having their Chromebook at home, charged, and ready to use should the need arise for them to learn virtually from home.  We will continue to notify staff, students, and families to be ready daily.  Communication will come through Principal newsletters, daily in-school announcements, Connect-Ed phone and text messages to families as well as postings to AACPS social media sites, including the school district’s main website: www.aacps.org

    Additional Factors

    Describe any other factors particular to the plan for virtual inclement weather days in your local school system.

    During Virtual Inclement Weather Days (VIW Days), we will provide a full instructional virtual day with an extended break for students during the mid-morning and mid-afternoon instructional learning blocks or periods. Our virtual schedules for all grade levels are posted at www.aacps.org/studentschedules and reflect what we are currently using for virtual learning for schools that have temporarily converted to such an arrangement because of a COVID-19 outbreak.  All full day students will receive at least 4 hours of live synchronous instruction during the VIW days. 

    Teachers have received significant professional development on how to use our new Learning Management System, Brightspace, and the virtual meeting platform, Google Meet, to support virtual learning.  Athletics and co-curricular activities will be cancelled or postponed on VIW days and rescheduled for future date(s).

    The VIW Day plan was presented to the Anne Arundel County Board of Education at its February 2, 2022 meeting, and subsequently posted to the AACPS website www.aacps.org and on our Fall 2021 site at www.aacps.org/fall2021.

    Attestations (Please check each box)

    boxThere will be a minimum of four hours of synchronous instruction for all students each virtual inclement weather day.

    boxAttendance will be taken for all students and teachers during the virtual inclement weather day.

    boxThere will be opportunities for students to make up work missed during the virtual inclement weather day.

    boxThe Virtual Inclement Weather Day Plan will be posted on the local school system website. Link will be provided to MSDE upon approval of the Virtual Inclement Weather Day Plan by MSDE.

    boxThe Virtual Inclement Weather Day Plan was presented at a publicly accessible local school system board meeting.


    NOTES:  We sought public input to the Virtual Inclement Weather Day Plan prior to the AACPS Board of Education meeting on February 2, 2022. We then submitted the plan to MSDE for final approval.

    Now that we have received final approval from MSDE, we will be able to implement virtual learning on inclement weather days when schools must be closed for in-person learning.

    On Virtual Inclement Weather Days, school will begin at the normal start time.  Each school will post their student learning schedules for the day.