The words “snow day” will take on a new meaning at Gibault Catholic High School this winter.
Starting Dec. 2 with a test day, the Gibault community will experience E-Learning Days, a new format of school day that will allow students and teachers to continue learning and teaching from home on days most schools would recognize as snow days.
Through the school’s learning management system, MyBigCampus, students will be able to access assignments and communicate with their teachers from home.
Gibault principal Russ Hart said that although many students were apprehensive about these E-Learning Days at first, this will allow them to not fall behind and they will be done with school on time in the spring.
“We are convinced that this is a better way to do snow days,” he said. “This is a much better way to continue the learning that’s going on in class without a disruption. We won’t have to make these days up at the end of the year.”
Students will log on to the learning management system before 9 a.m., and follow the instructions their teachers have left for them.
Teachers will have a three-hour block of time where students may ask questions and discuss assignments.
Hart said this route is safer in inclement weather because teachers and students will not have to commute and can do the work from home.
Heather Johnson, a social studies teacher at Gibault, said while there is accountability for these E-Learning Days, there is also flexibility.
“They don’t have to do those assignments right away at 9 a.m.,” she said. “But they know I’ll be online for those three hours if they need any help or explanations.”
Morgan Wiegand and Jeff Demond, both students at Gibault, said that while they didn’t like the idea of E-Learning Days at first, they have come to realize it might be the best system long-term.
“Now, since I know exactly when I’m getting out of school and we won’t have to add on days (at the end of the year), I realize it’s not that bad,” Wiegand said.
Demond said he feels the same way.
“I’m not a big fan of the cold anyway, so doing my work at home wrapped up in a blanket is fine by me,” he said.
The Gibault community will have a “practice snow day” at the end of Thanksgiving break to properly prepare for what they can expect for a real snow day.
“It’s really outside-the-box thinking,” Hart said. “If we’re going to go into a cold winter, though, this is something we need to practice.”
After the practice days, students and faculty will be surveyed to see what worked for them and what could be improved upon for the future.
“It’s a school day, but you won’t be in school,” Hart said. “Our faculty and students are both prepared.”