By: Ruthie Saylor
Would you rather have a flex day or a snow day? This can be a controversial question among students. Tussey Mountain has experienced three days off of school due to weather this school year. Two of these days were snow days and one of these days was a flex day.
A flex day is a day where students are sent home with work to do, and they can do their work online. Students then don’t have to make up this school day on a day they would normally have off. A snow day is the opposite where students stay home with no work to do, but they are required to make it up on a different day of the school year.
Tussey Mountain High School Superintendent Dr. Jerry Shoemake is tasked with deciding which kind of day students will have. Shoemake says, “ I’m not opposed to flex days … [but] I prefer snow days more than flex days.” There are a lot of reasons to take into consideration before Shoemake makes a decision like this. Students have to have a day’s notice at the least for a flex day so that students can collect their work to bring home. Also, attendance is an issue; although the state does not have an attendance requirement, administrators would like to have as many students interact with the school as possible. The Pennsylvania Department of Education states that a school must have a contingency plan so that as many students as possible can participate in the curriculum. The Pennsylvania Department of Education also states, “If all students cannot participate due to extenuating circumstances and [the school’s]contingency plan does not ensure that all students participate, you may want to reconsider whether a FID [Flexible Instruction Day] is appropriate.” A flex day has no make-up day, but a lot of students miss the information because the attendance during a flex day is only around 65 to 70 percent for the high school and 60 percent for the elementary school.
Shoemake would like to save some of the flex days for use after spring break in April because any days off after that have to delay graduation. In the end, Shoemake prefers that students have a snow day despite the fact that it must be made up. Shoemake says, “I think that kids who are in their own classrooms during the day with their teachers get more out of a day of school than they do doing online assignments.”