Instructional Continuity - COVID and Snow Days

My son woke up today during the usual time so he could attend his virtual classes. I told him that there were no classes today because of snow. He gave me this blank stare and said, "But we are virtual". Well, this apparently is not the case in Fairfax county. Both in-person and virtual classes had been canceled. For Georgetown University, Main and Medical Campuses are closed but with Instructional Continuity. We use virtual classes, which we are currently using this semester due to the pandemic, because we believe in the importance of instructional continuity. "Classes will continue virtually as scheduled."


Here is an old post from this blog on instructional continuity.

When Storms Interrupt Learning in Classrooms

January 25, 2016

A post on this blog more than a year ago talked about Instructional Continuity. The article was in response to flooding brought by heavy rains in the capital region of Manila in the Philippines. This time, a blizzard just left a thick blanket of snow in our area in Virginia. Elementary, middle and high schools are all closed and so is Georgetown University. As a faculty, I am encouraged to take measures so as to minimize the interruption in instruction. So I have posted my slides with the transcribed lecture my students would miss. Here is one of the slides.

Last Friday, before the snow storm hit, I reminded my students of the importance of solving problems at the end of each chapter as well as distributed practice, as supported by evidence from cognitive and educational psychology. This, of course, likewise applies to basic education. Mason Crest Elementary School tries to address instructional continuity with the following video:

February 26, 2015 Snow Day Story Time!
Posted by Mason Crest Elementary on Thursday, February 26, 2015

The principal, Brian Butler, writes "Kids what to do during a snow day off from school? Ask your parents can you build a snow structure and listen to a snow day story from a friend! Take a look!"

In a previous post of this blog, I likewise noted the following:

Of course, the tools and strategies provided above may not at all be possible in the Philippines. Much of the examples require a dependable and accessible internet, which is not necessarily present in all of the households in the country. But there are strategies that can be implemented without the world wide web. This simply requires planning ahead of time and designing homework which students can then do in case schools are suspended. These activities could be as simple as reading and writing assignments, or answering worksheets in mathematics. Learning does not have to stop if schools are closed.

Actually, full reliance on the internet is likewise unnecessary even in the United States. I also reminded my students last Friday that even without access to the internet or even a computer, learning could still continue. They still had their textbook and list of problems they could use for practice. And again, the same applies to basic education. The following are examples taken directly from what my own children are doing.

My son, who is in fourth grade, is reviewing the science of weather (how timely!) and here is part of his work:

And here is my daughter's (who is in first grade):

Being trapped inside one's house due to a massive snow storm is not really a reason to interrupt learning completely.