Proposed Bill Gives ND School Districts Option of Online Learning on Snow Days

With virtual learning, school districts don't have to make up days from bad weather

NORTH DAKOTA –  A proposed bill offers online learning on days where school is called off because of bad weather.

If the bill becomes law in North Dakota, school districts across the state would be able to decide whether or not they want to put the plan in place.

The bill was introduced by Rep. Jim Grueneich of Jamestown. KVRR reached out to him, but did not receive a response.

“I think Rep. Grueneich is trying to be responsive to the fact that we need to make up this school day, but how a school district chooses to make it up should be up to them, and if they have the technological capacity, then they should have that opportunity,” Kirsten Baesler, state superintendent for the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction, said.

The Department  says it will provide advice and insight on the bill, but it is not a bill from the agency.

“So certainly nothing mandated, just another way to make up the time rather than adding to the calendar,” Baesler said.

If a school district decides to use this plan, the online curriculum would be approved by the school board, and there’s has to be at least 95 percent of student participation.

“We’d definitely be interested in exploring what that could look like in our district and also just seeing what other districts are doing and what successful practices there are,” Rupak Gandhi, superintendent of Fargo Public Schools, said.

Practices do, however, vary by district.

“We haven’t had many snow days in the last couple of years. With our schedule, our school day already builds in enough extra minutes to cover one of the school days if we needed as well,” Gandhi said.

Parents have different thoughts on it— some say the bill is a good idea, some don’t think days need to be made up anyway, and others say they don’t have enough information.

“I think we should go through with it, some days it is really cold, and kids don’t really like to make up days, I think being home–schooled would be pretty cool on the winter days, and I hope this goes through,” Vaitupu Melei said.

The bill will be considered when the next legislative session begins on Jan. 3.

Categories: Local News, North Dakota News