COLUMBIA CITY — Students in Whitley County Consolidated Schools had their first eLearning practice day late last month. WCCS has been approved by the state to offer eLearning days in place of closing schools when weather creates difficult road conditions.

There will be two more practice days — Oct. 17 and Oct. 24 — so students can practice the skills they will need to be successful at a home eLearning day.

Students will need to access assignments and resources, turn in completed work, and know what to do if there is no or limited internet, prior to the district will officially begin allowing home eLearning days — after Nov. 1.

The plan is to reduce the number of added days at the end of the school year due to closings, but eLearning days won’t completely eliminate that possibility.

“We will limit eLearning days this year to no more than five, so we may still have some school closures due to harsh weather,” said WCCS Assistant Superintendent Laura McDermott. “We will not call eLearning days on sequential days, nor on the first day of a new trimester.”

When an eLearning day is called, the information will be delivered to the public in the same way as school delays and closings — via the phone dialer, text messages, emails, and television and radio stations.

Other schools in the state that have utilized eLearning days have had unforseen benefits, McDermott says. Those include:

• increase in student communication skills as students learn how to articulate questions in a way that enables them to gather information they need;

• increase in ability to manage time as students determine how to approach and complete their learning for the day; and

• increase in student-driven collaboration as they build their own virtual study groups, learning vital workplace skills.

The use of eLearning days enables teachers and students to maintain instructional momentum despite harsh weather. Instead of instructional time being robbed from students due to the loss of the day, teachers will create lessons for children to complete at home with their assistance as required. McDermott says this is consistent with the district’s vision to prepare WCCS students to be “Ready for Tomorrow” as it provides students with skills and experiences in a blended learning environment.

If you have specific questions or would like to read more about WCCS eLearning Days, visit the WCCS eLearning page, at wccsonline.com/domain/298 or contact your child’s school.