Talawanda shifts to virtual schooling instead of snow days


Photo by Jamie Santarella

When Talawanda schools shut down on Tuesday because of the snow, many local children took to the sledding slope at Peffer Park.

No matter how much more snow falls this winter, Talawanda School District won’t be declaring any more “snow days,” according to Superintendent Ed Theroux. Instead, the district will switch into asynchronous virtual instruction mode, with students doing work at home at their own pace.

That’s what happened Thursday, Feb. 18, when Theroux closed the school buildings for the second time this week because of snow. The district has five snow days or “calamity days” built into its schedule. Once it uses those days up, any further shutdowns have had to be made up during spring break or at the end of the year. But with the experience gained in virtual instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic, the district should not have to do that anymore.

The district closed for its fifth snow day of the year Tuesday. Previously it had closed Feb. 11, Feb. 9, Feb. 1 and Dec. 16. 

 “Yesterday’s call was an easier call. We had a winter storm warning, predicted snowfall, cold temperatures and blowing winds,” Theroux said Tuesday. “I spoke with several of the Butler County superintendents and we all agreed that we would announce a closure in the afternoon.

When the call is not as easy, Butler County superintendents will watch the weather forecast and communicate with their townships or cities to make sure everything is ready, Theroux said. Around 3 a.m. on snow days, three superintendents will get up and travel the roads to check for safety and make a call by 5 a.m.

“If we were to have any additional calamity days, students will be provided with remote, asynchronous learning starting on day six and beyond,” Theroux said. 

Two days later, that is exactly what happened.