LEWISTON — Remote instruction will be an option on so-called “snow days” this year.

The School Committee on Monday night unanimously approved a proposal from Superintendent Jake Langlais that will allow him to call a snow day, a delayed start or a remote day when travel is unsafe.

“If we have inclement conditions, we can stay in and watch a movie or play in the snow, but not every time,” Langlais said. “I want to have the option to do both (snow days and remote days).”

The Maine Department of Education last year waived make-up days for snow days, but that waiver has been rescinded, he said.

Remote instruction days would be counted as class days. Teachers would work and students would study, Langlais said.

“If approved, these two options would allow for flexibility to preserve the snow day and be productive during inclement weather to preserve days in the summer,” he wrote in a memo to the School Committee.

When school is called off because of bad weather, that day is added to the end of the school year.

The district will have to submit a plan to the DOE for approval of its remote instruction option on snow days. The committee’s green light will give administrators time to “build up (in advance) what would be needed for a remote day,” according to the state’s criteria, Langlais said.

“If feasible, we work to provide nutrition in advance with items that have shelf life, provide learning activities, and meet any other criteria established by the state to qualify the day as a school day,” he wrote in the memo. “If the criteria cannot be met or if conditions permit, we would call it a snow day.”

Luke Jensen, the City Council’s representative to the School Committee, said he did not want remote days to be a burden on teachers.

“I don’t want teachers to have to work harder than usual,” Jensen said.

Langlais said he had talked with members of the Lewiston Education Association, the union that represents educators.

“We want to make it manageable,” he said. “There is no shortage of the amount of work our teachers do.”

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