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POLL: Should Virtual Classes Replace Snow Days in New Jersey?

So, should New Jersey recognize out-of-school virtual learning as class time? Please vote in our poll and/or comment below.

For the most part, all students and teachers love snow days.

Until the closures amount to the point where previously scheduled extended weekends, week-long breaks, and even graduation dates are compromised. 

That's what's happened throughout much of New Jersey this winter season, as the winter storm season kept many students snowed in and schools closed. For one school district in Bergen County, however, a nor'easter wasn't going to stand in its way of education.

Pascack Valley, N.J. students spent Thursday, Feb. 13 snowed in but still learning, as the district held a day of virtual class, nj.com reported. Each student has a district-issued laptop they were able to use while learning from home, the report said.

The day of schoolwork, however, has yet to be considered a class day, as virtual schooling is yet to be approved by the New Jersey Department of Education, the report said. 

So, should New Jersey recognize out-of-school virtual learning as class time? Please vote in our poll and/or comment below.
Betty Boop February 23, 2014 at 10:20 PM
It would never happen in Toms River. Teachers are too lazy to post a simple e-board and keep it update. Many teachers claim they are computer illiterate. Can't power point, can't e-board and had to be force to put grades up on parent portal. Heck, the language arts supervisors have never used an e-reader nor know they can download the software to their computer, etc. smh
Chief Wahoo February 23, 2014 at 10:23 PM
VIRTUAL CLASSES.....SAVE GAS....SAVE ELECTRICITY.....SAVE INFRASTRUCTURE......SAVE COMMUTE TIMES.....NO BULLYING.
carol jones February 23, 2014 at 11:42 PM
only hiccup might be in areas where not everyone had access to a computer
Betty Boop February 23, 2014 at 11:53 PM
chief wahoo, it's called cyberschool which exists already for those who do homeschooling.
KC February 24, 2014 at 01:15 AM
I think it is time that the Department of Education come into the twenty-first century and consider this as a viable alternative during increasingly frequent weather events. Additionally this could be implemented as a tool to educate socially maladjusted or criminally inclined students who cost school districts to the tune of fifty five thousand dollars or more a year in alternative education. These so called special students sap a large share of resources that might be used to educate students willing to comply with societal norms. Fifty five thousand dollars is a teachers salary! I say Use the technology.
anonymous February 24, 2014 at 04:04 AM
Really???????????????? Really???????????????????? Nothing compares to class room time are u really this stupid??????????? My sister graduated from kean without even stepping foot on the campus she is still a dumb-ass. She graduated with honors and all from a laptop isnt this world intact. You people have to know one thing and here it is -------- Anything worth its weight in gold is going to hurt----- Period ----I did not get to do what I do by chance or luck I worked hard at it and made it happen. Good luck to those online grads welcome to the real world I hope it does not kick your ass. anonymous
ndonatiello February 24, 2014 at 04:07 AM
This is another way for teachers to spend less time at their part time job of teaching. When teachers work 8 hours a day in school for 50 weeks a year will they be full time workers.
jerseytomato February 24, 2014 at 07:21 AM
If 'virtual classes' can replace 'snow days,' then virtual classes can replace all school days, saving taxpayers a whole lotta greenbacks. No teacher salaries, no benefit packages, no pensions, etc. Anonymous - makes you wonder why Keane has six Vice President's, with their 'virtual classrooms.' Taxpayers are being sooo ripped off.
Jen February 24, 2014 at 08:21 AM
Let me start by saying that I have a background in education. I hold two certificates of eligibility with advance standing. I am not currently teaching. I think the technology is there and I would want for my child to be able to make up school days if it was available. In this case, the district provided laptops, so there wasn't a case of bias as to which students could take advantage of the opportunity. Businesses allow for employees to work remotely during severe weather. So should students. I do not know if this would work as a total replacement for schools, jerseytomato. That situation is called homeschooling and it does not work for everyone. I am sure I will be called out for some reason as there are a lot of teacher haters that have already posted here. The negative comments about "lazy teachers" and how teachers only are part time workers are not accurate, as far as my experience has proven. You have people resistant to technology in all fields so lay off. If this district was able to get their act together and make this happen, remote learning should count as a school day. What does the state care as long as the kids pass their standardized tests anyway?
forREALNJ February 24, 2014 at 09:14 AM
NO they needs to have some sense about cancelling school for a few inches of snow or in cases of rain.....
David Fischer February 24, 2014 at 09:22 AM
In the case of Pascack Valley, N.J. , they have used computer learning in the classroom with district supplied laptops to every student for over 10 years. The infrastructure in the school has been developed over the years to allow virtual learning throughout the school. Teachers as well as students have had ample training on how to best use the virtual world for learning. This is a viable option for all schools providing they are willing to commit the time, money and training that is required. You can not just hand a computer to a student and teacher and say 'go learn with this', as many districts have found out around the country. Pascack Valley committed to a complete computer revolution in their system over 10 years ago which is why they are at the point where they can offer virtual learning across their entire spectrum of grades and students. Remember, they supply the computers to all their students, and the computers are changed every few years in order to keep up with the ever changing technology. For those who think it will save money on teachers, you are very wrong. Studies have shown that the number of teachers would not decrease, and indeed they have not in districts like Pascack Valley, because there is a limit on the number of grade-school students that a teacher can manage effectively, even in the virtual world. I am not saying that it would not be possible to make virtual learning a reality, I am saying that it takes a lot of money, time and work.
John Kerwin February 24, 2014 at 09:27 AM
The key is that this "one" district gave every student a laptop. We are a long way from this happening throughout the state. You can now see how the poorer districts have the poorer students. Is this a good investment when education funding is being slashed for 3 days of missed classes. This one district should be allowed to have these days count as long as the virtual classes are following the curriculum and other criteria is met. Anyone who has taken on-line courses know that these are much more difficult for overall learning. For one reason students may have difficulty understanding the material and have immediate questions that cannot be answered by the teacher at that time. That one on one interaction is vital.
Carm February 24, 2014 at 10:11 AM
I'm a grandmother that cares for 5 grandchildren when there out for snow I can not imagine trying to give everyone enough time on my one laptop. Even if they all had there own I don't think I could handle all the help they would need as I am not trained educator
DENNIS SYLVESTER February 24, 2014 at 10:24 AM
Not everyone has nor can afford a computer for each student. It is very possible to do.
John E February 24, 2014 at 10:24 AM
Schools supply laptops for students will cost and that means higher school taxes. Also who will pay for the internet provider? Not all families can afford their normal bills these days. Bad idea!
Person of Few Words February 24, 2014 at 11:01 AM
This should definitely be tried. We are in the age of technology. Standards should be set for students and teachers. Not much learning can take place in 90 + degree classrooms where no air circulates due to inadequate ventilation. Most classrooms still have no air conditioning.
Mac February 24, 2014 at 11:20 AM
this is true - many classrooms don't have air conditioning but the school staff offices and lounges all do
forREALNJ February 24, 2014 at 11:25 AM
SO , Reading the comments seems like a simple fix, AC in the classrooms, and common sense stop cancelling school so quickly.
ml r February 24, 2014 at 11:48 AM
If all students can be confirmed to possess access to computer/internet service, I think it's a great idea. Several hours of learning on line would be great. Maybe consider expanding the idea to summer time
Melissa Buck February 24, 2014 at 12:07 PM
What about children without computers or wi-fi in their homes?
letsgetreal February 24, 2014 at 12:12 PM
Great concept...but not gonna happen. Why?....simple technology costs money and to outfit TR with this will cost millions which means bigger budgets and then these comments above will turn to complaints about having to pay for the very thing your arguing for. Nobody wants to pay for this stuff because it will mean raising taxes to do it. Again, Concept great, outcome and actually implementing this....Poor. Be honest who is gonna vote to pay more in school taxes....? Not me. Universities do this because they have monumental budgets 10x higher that TR schools that is the difference and a multitude of those Univ doing this are private with HUGE endowments to alleviate the financial burden. Just sayin....
Mac February 24, 2014 at 12:41 PM
If money is the issue, then we can save billions wasted annually with some intelligent consolidations. There are over 600 school districts in this little state and each has its own generals, little generals, and more of their relatives on these numerous over-bloated office and whatever staffs. Most of these school employees make more than the teachers who do a lot more for our children than just mimic the rules as they come down from the NJ state education pooh pooh and then respond by pushing a computer button to bring up a 'request for more grant money' form. It all boils down to the voter’s personal value of a dollar. Very simple but one does have to stand up first.
Betty Boop February 24, 2014 at 01:45 PM
Mac, the 1st step is to get rid of the single school k-8 districts. Force them to merge with a k-12 district. Then, force any district under 1000 students merge or give them $0 state aid if they wish to stay independent. Do that and you are probably down to 300 districts. For instance, that would get rid of SSP, SSH, Lavallette, Bayhead, Brielle, Island Heights school districts.
jerseytomato February 24, 2014 at 02:02 PM
Jen - with your background in education, specifically 'two certificates of eligibility and advanced standing' - why are my tax dollars providing your offspring with a laptop? Why aren't you filling in for your child's teacher during snow days? If a lap top is key to educating your child, why don't you purchase one with your own funds?
Sheila February 24, 2014 at 02:32 PM
@jerseytomato...If you feel the need to attach someone, be accurate. She did not say that the district provided her children with laptops, she's referring to the story regarding Pascack County schools.
Sheila February 24, 2014 at 02:36 PM
I never understand why people have such disdain for teachers. If you think that when that bell rings their day is done you're mistaken. It's not like my job when it's time to go home I get to leave work behind and not think of it again until tomorrow. And if you want to gripe that they only work 10 months then start a campaign to have school year round, so that your children can go year round, because if your kids aren't there then there's nothing for teachers to do. No, you would all complain that you couldn't make vacation plans. If your children knew how little you think of our education system or their teachers, then don't expect them to respect them.
Jen February 24, 2014 at 02:38 PM
Thanks for the advice jerseytomato. I am saying that if the school provided my kid with a laptop and school was closed, I would be all for them being able to make up the day by doing schoolwork rather than doing something less constructive. Plus there's this post from December http://collingswood.patch.com/groups/schools/p/collingswood-schools-considering-google-chromebooks-for-students
jerseytomato February 26, 2014 at 07:55 AM
I completely misread Jen's post. So, for the record, I stand corrected and regret doing so. Sheila, unfortunately, I don't have children, and am able to freely make vacation plans. As for our education system, I'm afraid it's appalling, but I pay my tax dollars in support, none the less.
Parent March 05, 2014 at 12:42 PM
Stop the constant testing! Let the teachers teach and maybe the kids will learn. Private school gets it done in less time, get education back to what it was.
Parent March 05, 2014 at 12:42 PM
Stop the constant testing! Let the teachers teach and maybe the kids will learn. Private school gets it done in less time, get education back to what it was.

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