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Some WNY school districts commit to using snow days, rather than remote learning, if needed later this week

On Monday evening, Alden Central Schools tweeted that if weather prevents school from opening on Thursday, students will not be expected to learn from home.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The world of remote learning has lead some to wonder if traditional snow days are a thing of the past. Some Western New York school districts are shutting down that theory, by committing to using snow days later this week if needed.

On Monday evening, the Alden Central School District shared on Twitter that if snow prevented school from opening on Thursday, January 6, it would be deemed a snow day, and students would not be expected to learn remotely. 

The post reads, "Welcome back Bulldog Nation. Wishing you all the best in 2022! Monitoring potential weather event for Wednesday into Thursday... for your planning purposes, if school is canceled, we will NOT be learning remotely. #unplug #hashtagenjoytheoutdoors."

Superintendent Adam Stoltman spoke with 2 On Your Side about how the district came to that decision. 

"Over the course of the last 12 months I believe, the state education department has given permission for school districts, if they need to close in the event of an emergency, they can shift to remote and count it as a student attendance day." Stoltman explained. 

"We've got plenty of student attendance days on our calendar. We personally believe here within our district, school board, myself, our administrators, that in the event that we need to close for an emergency, at least the first several, that it's more important for our students to come unplugged, and enjoy the day. Perhaps get out and help a neighbor shovel, whatever it might be, in the event that this forecast is accurate."

Depew Union Free Schools Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Rabey says he made the decision last year to use up the district's allotment of snow days before shifting to remote learning, partly because he wants students to enjoy the day. 

"You know, growing up I think all of us used to love snow days, just those random days off to be able to be outside, and enjoy the snow and that's what we want our kids to be able to do," he told 2 On Your Side. "Especially during this time of the pandemic and obviously it ramping back up again, I think it's important for kids to take that time and be outside and play."

2 On Your Side has reached out to several other districts about their plans for Thursday. In addition to Alden Central and Depew Union Free Schools, the superintendents of Orchard Park Schools and the West Seneca Central School District both told us they will also be using a snow day Thursday, in the event school is canceled due to weather. 

A spokesperson for Buffalo Public Schools says they won't know until they have to call it, but they did direct us to the Covid plan on their website, under which students have been taking their devices home nightly in the case that they need to learn remotely.