District replaces Emergency Days with E-Learning

Audrey Gottschild and Alex Garibashvily

Waking up to the news of a snow day from her mother always filled freshman Grace Gertner with excitement for a day of sleeping in and sledding with her friends or family. She had never anticipated snow days would be replaced with E-Learning.

“My brother and I … we always built a sled hill in our backyard [on snow days],” said Gertner in a video conference. “We would just sled all day, and it was always so fun.”

The Glenbrook High School District #225 School Board approved the use of E-Learning to replace Emergency Day school closures, including snow days, on Nov. 9.

Principal Jason Markey said in a video conference that the pandemic influenced Illinois to allow all schools to replace Emergency Days with E-Learning. Previously, three schools in Illinois participated in a pilot program where E-Learning replaced Emergency Days.

“The most significant benefit is [E-Learning] allows you to continue with the learning without … tacking a day on at the end of the year, ” Markey said.

In previous school years, if a school day had to be made up due to severe weather, the school would use areserved Emergency day during or after the year.

According to Markey, E-Learning will not necessarily be used for every instance of an Emergency Day.

“There were a couple of times when [a pilot school] did cancel school because the snow maybe started in the middle of the night and we are not going to tell [students] … first thing in the morning [to log in to class],”Markey said. “Depending on what time everyone is notified, it varies a little bit on how prepared … the teachers and the students are.

Unless the school board revokes its decision or Illinois laws change, the decision of E-Learning to replace Emergency Days will impact future school years, Markey said.

According to Gertner, she will miss hanging out with her friends and having a stress-free day off.

“There is … no better feeling than waking up and your mom saying it is a snow day,” Gertner said.