It looks like the snow day may not be dead for many local students after all as a record-breaking winter storm coupled with rolling (or more lengthy) power outages caused local schools to announce closures for both in-person and remote learning Tuesday.
Highland Park ISD announced that it would be closed for remote and in-person instruction Tuesday, and decisions about whether school will be held either remotely or in person for the rest of the week will be made on a day-by-day basis.
The district says they will work with the Texas Education Agency to determine options to maintain the spring calendar as is and avoid the use of the district’s inclement weather days scheduled for March 12 and April 5.
The HPISD board of trustees meeting set for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday will take place virtually as planned. All other events and activities, including Academy for Lifelong Learning classes, are cancelled and all buildings will continue to remain closed until further notice.
Dallas ISD students will get two snow days, district chief of communication serviced Libby Daniels told school board members Monday afternoon.
“Due to widespread power outages throughout the area, Dallas ISD will be closed Tuesday, February 16 and Wednesday, February 17,” she said. “Students and teachers will return to 100% remote learning Thursday and Friday, February 18 and 19, and all other staff will resume working remotely, as well.”
Texas Education Agency deputy chief of staff Alejandro Delgado provided guidance for school districts Monday morning as blackouts continued to mount.
In that guidance, the TEA said that if a district must close completely because of electrical outages, they “are eligible to apply for a missed school day waiver following the event for a maximum of 3 days without make-up required or having to utilize bad weather days.”
Districts that have power were encouraged to use virtual instruction if weather conditions were unsafe for travel.
Many private schools will also have snow days Tuesday.
Hockaday announced students will get a snow day Tuesday and move to distance learning Wednesday.
All classes and activities are canceled for all divisions of Parish Episcopal School for Tuesday. Decisions about classes and extracurricular activities will be made on a day-to-day basis there, too.
Ursuline Academy students will also get a snow day Tuesday and the school says Wednesday will remain a community day, but there will be no Ash Wednesday Mass or distribution of ashes. Decisions about the rest of the week will be shared at a later time.
“Due to rolling power outages in the area and current weather conditions, the Jesuit Dallas campus will be closed on Tuesday and Wednesday,” Jesuit Preparatory communications director James Kramer said. “All activities for these dates have been cancelled and students will be remote learning on those days.
“A decision regarding the rest of the week will be determined later.”
Episcopal School of Dallas said it would also close Tuesday and switch to remote learning on Wednesday.
“We have decided that tomorrow will be a ‘snow day’ with no classes,” Greenhill School spokesperson Kerry Shea told us. “We are taking the rest of the week day by day.”
St. Mark’s School of Texas will be closed Tuesday, but classes will continue online through asynchronous learning.
Of course, everything is up in the air for the end of the week, too. Another wave of winter precipitation is predicted for Wednesday, and efforts to control the state power grid have been hampered by several factors, including the single-digit temperatures that have caused issues as well.
We will have more on the power issues tomorrow morning, but around 4:30 p.m. Gov. Greg Abbott said that some customers may start getting relief today.
But also expect state lawmakers to take a hard look at the outages during this legislative session.
“I think the rolling blackouts and outages we have been experiencing for the last few days will prompt discussion of whether our electrical capacity needs to be increased, especially in the winter months,” said State Rep. John Turner. “I intend to look into this issue in the coming weeks and I’m sure others in the Legislature will as well.
“As the scale of the power loss across Texas is becoming clearer, it has also become clearer to me that we as a state were not prepared for this,” he added. “We need to understand how this happened and make whatever changes are needed to ensure it does not happen again.”