DCS defines virtual learning requirements for closures

If school is closed this year for weather-related or other emergency reasons, youngsters may not be spending the missed day playing video games on their computer. Instead, they may be required to be in front of their computers doing school work.  

DeSoto County School District Board of Education members at their last meeting on Thursday, Aug. 5, voted to amend a board policy regarding emergency closings and adopted a policy defining virtual learning days. 

If the district alerts its teachers and students before the end of the school day that school will not be in session for an emergency reason the following day, that following day can be declared a virtual learning day and instruction by virtual means will take place for the otherwise missed day. Teachers will provide virtual instruction on those days, and students and teachers will be “held to the same standard as in-person learning.”  

“This policy is being revised to state that for any weather-related or other unforeseen emergency school closure, the district will provide sufficient notice to staff and students if the days missed will be virtual learning days,” said Lucy Hasselman, Assistant Supt. for Accreditation and Advanced Academics. “Sufficient notice is defined as being before the end of the prior school day.”

Another new board policy defined virtual learning days, and listed unforeseen circumstances as “extreme weather, pandemics, illness, damage to a school, a water crisis, etc.” 

In other words, if a virtual learning day is declared, students are expected to be available to learn and teachers will be teaching, albeit virtually. 

The Mississippi State Board of Education recommended the policy changes and Hasselman asked the DCS board waive the typical two-reading requirement before a board policy went into effect. 

“This board policy is recommended by State Board policy 9.3,” said Hasselman. “We are asking that you waive the two readings policy and adopt it as written as it is in the best interests of the district at this time.” 

The board policies may be found on the DeSoto County School website for Emergency Closings and Virtual Learning Days

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