Ten days of bitter cold, ice and snow take their toll in varied ways. For Marietta Public Schools, ten of the coldest days in almost three decades resulted in seven missed days in the classroom and some damages on campus.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, extended closures like this one would’ve resulted in students and teachers being forced to make up at least some of those days in person but given the existence of virtual learning and some planning on the part of administrators, that won’t be necessary.
Another thing that helped is the flexibility in scheduling allowed them by the State Department of Education. All of the state’s schools have the option to county their year in either days taught, or hours taught. Marietta schedules by hours. When choosing the hours, it’s possible to schedule in a few extras just for situations such as this one.
According to Marietta’s Superintendent Brandi Naylor, the district had 6.6 days’ worth of extra hours in their schedule.
“We used five days for snow days and then switched to distance learning for two days,” she said. “We had already planned to be out of school on Friday, February 19, and as previously planned, we virtually conducted our parent teacher conferences that were scheduled for Thursday night.”
Naylor said that when the district was surprised by the icy roads on February 9, they weren’t prepared to switch to distance learning because they were afraid students and staff might not have had their devices and materials with them.
“When we were back in school on Friday, February 12, we made sure that everyone took home what they needed with the plan of switching to distance learning for any days the following week,” Naylor continued. “We did distance learning on February 15 and 16, but by the end of the day Tuesday, many of our staff and students were having intermittent power and internet issues, so we made the choice to close the rest of the week to lessen the load on our families.”
In addition to the missed in-person classes, the district has damages caused by frozen water pipes.
“We had pretty significant damages from broken water lines in the ceiling of the football stadium restrooms,” said Naylor.
The district has filed an insurance claim and is hoping to have them operational in time to host the track meet scheduled for March 30.
“I feel like we’re blessed to not have more damage on a campus our size,” Naylor added.