School Closings Lead to Protocols and New E-Learning Day

Taryn Robinson, Staff Writer

In order to make up cancelled school on Jan. 30 and Jan. 31, during which temperatures plummeted to a record cold below -25 degrees without windchill, ETHS will have its first ever non-attendance E-Learning Day on Friday, Feb. 22.

I think there is a lot of potential for it to be a huge success. I think it’s going to be a learning process, but I am very excited to learn about the process.

— Jenna Koritsaris

In an email sent to all students and families on Feb. 7, Assistant Superintendent and Principal Marcus Cambell wrote, “An E-Learning Day is an ‘Electronic Learning’ Day that is approved by the Illinois State Board of Education as a day of instruction for students who are not physically present at the school and that is accessible to all students. Students will not report to school, but will work remotely from home.”

Attendance will be taken for the day through online check-in forms sent by teachers, or as students complete the assigned work. According to the ETHS website, students who do not have access to the internet, “will have the ability to make up work (within 2 days) in accordance with The Pilot student handbook.” ETHS will also have 50 wifi-hotspots available in the ChromeZone for checkout.

“I am a little concerned about technology issues because we have technology issues in the classroom that are unforeseen sometimes,” biology teacher Jenna Koritsaris said. “I think it’s going to be a learning process but I am very excited to learn about the process.”

Digital days started when Washoe County School District in Nevada, along with many other school districts, noticed how disruptive the weather can be to school schedules and attendance.

“I’m excited that we don’t have to make up the day in school,” junior Aiden Ross said. “But at home there are more distractions.”

At ETHS, make-up days are usually added to the end of the school year or during non-attendance days.

“I prefer to be at school to get a one-on-one with teachers,” senior Aurora Sanchez said.

There are many factors such as temperature, inches of snow and road conditions that go into deciding to close schools. The decision is made by ETHS administrators, primarily the Superintendent Eric Witherspoon.

One of the reasons we strive to stay open is because this is a warm, safe place for students,” Witherspoon said. “Additionally, [ETHS] provides breakfast, lunch and after school meals”

When the school closes, including e-school day and cold days, all of its services, are unavailable to students. Safety officers and maintenance stay in the building to monitor the school grounds.

During dangerous temperatures, “Evanston provides ample warming centers to accommodate people in need, so ETHS is not needed as a warming center,” Witherspoon said.

The next time dangerously frigid temperatures freeze over Evanston, the repercussions may be E-Learning rather than a full attendance day. Moreover, the community will continue to have warming centers and varying resources available for those in need of food and warmth on these cold days.