SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — After a record year of snow days, the Sioux Falls School District is making some changes. When they can predict a snow day, instead of kids getting a day off from learning, the Student Family Remote Learning Plan will be put into action.

Last winter was a doozy for most of us in KELOLAND. For the Sioux Falls School District, it was a record-breaking five snow days. And those days had to be made up at the end of the school year when the weather was nice.

“We know having the students with the teacher in the classroom is the best environment, but in cases where we can’t be, this is the next best option, and with technology, we have the opportunity on one or two days a year be able to offer this,” Assistant Superintendent Teresa Boysen said.

When administrators can predict a possible snow day, they will send students and teachers home prepared for a remote learning day.

“Teachers will have everything uploaded into Canvas, our learning management system by nine o’clock in the morning. That morning, if it’s a remote learning day and students will log in and do their work, they submit their work and teachers will be available from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to answer questions by email, by phone and to support the students and the families,” Boysen said.

if a student doesn’t have internet or their power goes out, they will be able to make up the work when they come back to class. The district is also working with South Dakota Voices for Peace, which received grant money to help families qualify for free or reduced cost internet service through the Federal Affordable Connectivity Program.

“You can qualify for up to $30 off of your bill. There is another program called Lifeline, and you can actually stack benefits, so it’s not either or. Lifeline is about $10 off, so when you combine those two, you can almost get internet for free here in Sioux Falls,” Taneeza Islam with South Dakota Voices for Peace said.

The pandemic taught educators that in-class learning is best, but remote learning has its place.

Islam says every school website in the Sioux Falls district has information about affordable connectivity programs. Click here for information on the program.