New law to limit IN schools to 3 days eLearning

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — A new Indiana law will limit schools to just three days of virtual learning, and half of those days will have to be led by teachers remotely.

This is part of HB-1093, which includes various other education-related pieces of legislation. The virtual learning parts include the following language:

This bill establishes: (1) a definition of “virtual pedagogical day for students”; and (2) requirements for virtual teaching days for students. It provides that a public school cannot organize more than three virtual teaching days for students who do not meet the established requirements. It provides that a public school that does not comply with these provisions cannot count a pupil instructional day toward the 180 pupil instructional day requirement. It also allows the DOE to waive these requirements.

This bill defines and establishes rules regarding virtual instructional days for students, limiting schools to include a maximum of three such days in their required 180 instructional days for students each school year. However, at the request of a school, the DOE may waive this HB 10932 requirement after reviewing the request. Any school that fails to meet the required 180 days of instructional time for students will have their tuition support income reduced in accordance with state law. Any reduction in funding to schools will revert to the General Fund. The State Board of Education should work with the DOE to implement rules that define asynchronous and synchronous learning.

WANE 15 reached out to various school districts in Allen County to get their perspective on the law. Schools are still waiting to learn more about what asynchronous and synchronous learning days will look like.

One of the main issues with synchronous learning is ensuring that every student has access to the internet. Representatives from Northwest Allen County Schools and Fort Wayne Community Schools both told WANE 15 that they make hotspots available to families who do not have reliable internet access.

The other big issue is how it could potentially impact a school’s schedule if they can’t use virtual learning days and don’t have make-up days.

Lizette Downey, a spokeswoman for NACS, said they are adding several catch-up days to their schedule to allow for regular snow days and not to find themselves in situations where the last day of school or diplomas had to be moved.

Downey said they don’t anticipate the three-day limit on online learning to be an issue unless there’s a major weather event that forces students to stay home for several days in a row. .

“What we’ve found is trying to find the balance between the two and trying to maintain a few snow days where kids can be kids and still go out and play, and still have that luxury of a few days of e-learning if we have this scenario where we have multiple days in a row where that’s just not feasible,” Downey said.

FWCS spokesperson Krista Stockman provided this response via email when asked about the new law and how remote learning adds an extra challenge for parents of young children:

“For the FWCS, we’ve only had one year of using e-learning for weather days. Before the pandemic, we made up for every missed day. During the 2020-21 school year, all of our weather days were synchronous learning days. So it won’t be as difficult for us to go back to that format. Other school districts may have more difficulty because they have been using online learning longer. We also tend to have fewer days when we cancel schools because city road conditions are very different from county roads. We don’t face so much fog either. Our average cancellation per year is 3, although we have had up to 13. We know that when we delay or cancel it puts a strain on parents, so if we can transport students safely to school, we will stay in session. However, having the option to go to e-learning or synchronous distance learning is important because there are days in the winter when it is not safe to bring students to school. ‘school.

A SACS spokeswoman was unavailable, but provided this response: “We are aware of the new code and are currently reviewing its impact on future e-learning days at SACS.”

A call to an EACS spokesperson had not been returned at the time of this report.

Norma A. Roth