Snow Days Being Replaced with “Digital Days” in Washoe County Schools

Washoe County school bus on a snow day. Image: Carla O'Day.
Washoe County school bus on a snowy day. Image: Carla O’Day.

Snow might cancel a trek to school but it won’t mean students can take a day off from academics, according to a new “digital days” policy implemented this year by the Washoe County School District.

New this school year are “digital school days,” which mean students will complete learning activities and assignments provided by their teachers at home. They will be utilized when entire school days have been cancelled due to bad weather. This also means no make-up days at the end of the school year.

Digital days won’t apply to delayed starts and early dismissals.

Deputy Superintendent Kristen McNeill said the idea was piloted last year at schools in Incline Village.

Kristen McNeill, deputy superintendent, Washoe County School District.
Kristen McNeill, deputy superintendent, Washoe County School District.

“It was a design that was thought of by teachers and principals but brought to life by our student accounting director Bryn Lapenta,” McNeill said. “She’s spent countless hours researching other districts and finding out what other districts do in lieu of having a contingency day. We know if we tack days on at the end of the year, that’s an impact to our families and staff. So using a digital day allows us to have school in lieu of a snow day.”

Connect-Ed calls, text messages and e-mails will go out to let parents and students know a digital day has been enacted. Teachers are expected to be available through e-mail, the school website or another online learning platform to answer questions from students having trouble.

Students without internet access will be provided with assignments when school resumes. They will have one day for each missed day, plus one more day, to complete assignments.

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Individual schools are preparing plans in case a digital day is implemented. Once finalized, tests will be conducted to ensure functionality. Schools will reach out to families with specific information before a test run later this month.


Carla O'Day
About Carla O'Day 497 Articles
Carla has an undergraduate degree in journalism and more than 10 years experience as a daily newspaper reporter. She grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., moved to the Reno area in 2002 and wrote for the Reno Gazette-Journal for 8 years, covering a variety of topics. Prior to that, she covered local government in Fort Pierce, Fla.