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We need to remember not everyone has internet

By Staff | Feb 20, 2015

As our children faced another day of canceled classes because of weather, I heard the grumblings of a possible loss of spring break. I later saw a posting that two days that were scheduled off in March will now be converted to instructional days.

The goal, I realize, is to somehow avoid adding days on to the end of the year in June. I am all for that as well; however, when decisions are made for the safety of children in canceling a school day, the state has dictated we must make that up. The change in the law last year that prohibited us from going past June 8 allows for additional days cutting into summer. Now two-hour delays where instructional hours are lost must be made up as well. (Perhaps the pendulum swung too far from one side to the other-which is usually the case when laws come under scrutiny).

Regardless, another thing I heard from my children was “I have to do this snow day homework that my teachers put on the internet.”

While I am not one to be lax on homework-I get rather irritated when my children don’t do it-having assignments put up on ‘Live Grades’ for students to have completed when they come back after a snow day is not necessarily something I can get behind.

While we are fortunate enough to have access to the internet in our home, we do not have a printer or some of the programs required for at home work. (We don’t have power point or spreadsheets, etc. We have basic internet.) Many children in our county don’t have that bare minimum.

The requirement by teachers to have children use computers at home to do homework has always caught me a little on the negative side because so many don’t have them; but, when you add doing assignments on a snow day, it really causes concern.

While those who don’t have computers at home on a good day often find it difficult to do assignments given, they can often use public library access or come to school early or stay late to use school computers. These children don’t have that option on days when school is closed. I know that at least the Bolivar-Harpers Ferry Library, where we live, is closed on the the school schedule for inclement weather.

These students don’t even have access to the Live Grades software if they don’t have computers at home. While I said to my child, who was feverishly working to complete “snow” assignments, that they couldn’t be graded because not everyone can do them, she argued. She was taking no chance on getting a zero.

While I feel good about her desire to do the work, I worry that many didn’t do it because they didn’t have access to it. I would hope that our teachers and our school system as a whole realize that despite the fact that we live in an affluent part of the state, not everyone has the funds or desire to have internet connections in their home.