The snowstorm, which started on Saturday, has dumped more than 20 inches of snow in some areas of Anchorage, making roads impassable and disrupting public services. According to the Anchorage Municipal Light and Power, more than 10,000 customers were without power on Monday morning, and some may not have their service restored until Wednesday.
ASD said in a statement that it made the decision to extend remote learning after consulting with the National Weather Service, the Anchorage Police Department, and the Anchorage Fire Department. The district also said that it will monitor the weather conditions and provide updates on its website and social media channels.
Remote learning expectations and resources
ASD’s expectation is that students will continue learning no matter the environment. Unless otherwise specified, students are expected to participate in remote learning by utilizing available devices at home or with paper work packets that were sent home during the first quarter Parent-Teacher Conferences.
On Remote Learning days, communication will be sent to families from their student’s teacher before 9 a.m. Below are online access links to the documents found in the remote learning packets that were sent home. Please use these in case the school is closed and you do not have access to the physical remote learning packets. If you are unable to access these links, we advise families to reach out to their student’s teacher for assistance.
- ERE Remote Learning Packets: This is the direct link to the ERE Remote Learning Folder on the Google Drive. Please choose the folder with your student’s grade level when looking for work to access during remote learning days.
- AKChoice K-12 Learning: This is a K-12 culture of academic innovation and adaptation, offering a home school or correspondence school education opportunity in Anchorage, Alaska. It is designed for students who want either part-time or full-time online options while maintaining a connection to their neighborhood/choice school.
- AKChoice Virtual Learning: This is an alternative pathway for 9th-12th grade students to earn both core and elective ASD credits. It is a self-paced, online program that empowers students to learn in a digital environment.
Parents and students share their experiences and challenges
Many parents and students have expressed their frustration and disappointment with the school closures and the remote learning situation. Some parents said that they have to juggle their work and childcare responsibilities, while others said that they are worried about their children’s academic progress and social-emotional well-being.
One parent, Jennifer Smith, said that she has two children in elementary school and one in middle school, and that remote learning has been a struggle for them. “It’s hard to keep them motivated and engaged when they are stuck at home and can’t see their friends or teachers. They miss the routine and the interaction of the classroom. And I have to work from home too, so it’s not easy to supervise them and help them with their assignments,” she said.
Another parent, David Jones, said that he has a high school senior who is applying to colleges, and that remote learning has affected his preparation and performance. “He has to take some standardized tests and write some essays, and he needs guidance and feedback from his teachers and counselors. But remote learning makes it harder to communicate and get the support he needs. He is also worried about his grades and his extracurricular activities, which are important for his college applications,” he said.
Some students also shared their experiences and challenges with remote learning. One student, Sarah Lee, said that she is a sophomore at West High School, and that remote learning has been boring and stressful for her. “I don’t like staring at the screen all day and listening to lectures. I prefer hands-on learning and group projects. I also feel more anxious and isolated when I can’t see my friends or participate in clubs and sports. Remote learning is not the same as in-person learning,” she said.
Another student, Kevin Kim, said that he is a fourth-grader at Rogers Park Elementary School, and that remote learning has been fun and easy for him. “I like doing my work on the computer and playing games. I also like having more time to do other things, like reading and drawing. I still talk to my friends and teachers on the phone or online. Remote learning is not that bad,” he said.
School district hopes to resume in-person learning soon
ASD said that it hopes to resume in-person learning as soon as possible, depending on the weather and road conditions. The district also said that it appreciates the patience and understanding of the families and staff during this challenging time.
The district also reminded the families and staff to follow the health and safety protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19, which is still a serious threat in the community. The district said that it will continue to follow the guidance of the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services and the Anchorage Health Department to ensure the well-being of everyone in the school system.