School considers homework for potential snow days

Posted on Updated on

By: Henry Forbes, Staff Writer

Winter is fast approaching the state of Virginia, and with the new season comes an unrelenting amount of snow. However, with schools closing in fear of hazardous conditions and teachers afraid of their students missing vital information, one high school considers this: should they give students work through their Chromebooks?

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, at least eight days of school were closed in the counties of Chesterfield, Hanover, and Henrico last year. In the case of Chesterfield, days in school were extended for a certain period of time to make up for the time lost due to snow.

Students at James River High School wear warmer clothing to be prepared for the upcoming winter season, a time infamous for bringing snow to Virginia. Photo by Henry Forbes

“Make-up time is required,” assistant principal Dr. Jennifer Coleman said. “If there are half days, we would take out the half days. They would add time to the school day.”

One school in particular, that being James River High School has announced that teachers will be able to make up work through the facility’s newly-introduced Chromebooks. That way, students will be able to complete assignments at home without the risk of being exposed to the icy roads.

There have been mixed opinions about this concept. Some have felt that this will provide for the students’ benefit.

“I think it’s actually a pretty good idea,” freshman Bailey Clark said. “We don’t want to fall back as much like we did last year.”

Teachers are also relatively optimistic about the idea, as it could prove to be useful to have the students make up work while they are at home.

“I think it’s a great idea,” A.P. Human Geography teacher Shannon Castelo said. “JRHS has less instructional times than any other school in Chesterfield County due to AEP and ONE Lunch.”

However, the concept of having Chromebook work on snow days is not as favorable to others, due to some potential negatives that could arise from the situation.

“Most students wouldn’t really try hard on their work when their out of school” freshman Josh Crawford said. “Some people don’t have WiFi.”

This issue of people not having Internet is a concern for some, as snow days can prohibit others to access places with decent WiFi accessibility.

Many students rely on the bus system to transport them to school; however, snow inhibits the bus routes due to ice on the roads, reducing the friction on the surface and endangering whoever is on the vehicle, causing school cancellations and delays. Photo by Henry Forbes

“There are many students who don’t have WiFi at home,” Castelo said. “Many students use public venues for WiFi. It would be difficult to make a requirement.”

So far, the administration is considering the idea while weighing out the positives and negatives of such a concept.

“Benefits of that would be reducing instructional time loss,” Coleman said. “You would be able to stay current, and that would be able to keep you fresh.”

As for now, the possibilities of Chromebook work on snow days is being weighed by students and faculty alike, but ultimately the decision lies on the teachers.

“Teachers can have that as an option, but it cannot negatively impact a student’s grades,” Coleman said.

The Chromebooks supplied by James River High School will be used by certain teachers to assign work to students over the snow days. Photo by Henry Forbes