DUS decision to have distance learning Tuesday ‘based on maximizing instructional time,’ superintendent says

DOWAGIAC — The winter storm that rolled into Michigan Monday night forced school districts across southwest Michigan to decide whether or not to host Tuesday classes.

While students and staff in area school districts were issued snow days, Dowagiac Union Schools made the decision to hold a distance learning day.

In light of forecasts predicting a significant snow storm for the area Monday night, students were instructed Monday afternoon to bring home their district-issued Chromebooks — part of the district’s one-to-one technology program, which provides every student in the district with a Chromebook computer — and learning materials in case the weather were to be severe enough. Later that evening, the district announced that Tuesday would be a distance learning day.

“We knew this storm was coming,” said Superintendent Jonathan Whan. “We communicated with both staff and students. We were able to make the announcement Monday night. The earlier, the better for staff and students to be prepared.”

This school year, the district has hosted two winter weather-related distance learning days and one snow day. According to Whan, the idea of hosting virtual days when unable to hold classes in schools is based on maximizing as much instructional time this year as possible.

“We have had quite a bit of distance learning this year,” Whan said. “With all of our students having Chromebooks, it seemed logical for us to utilize distance learning days as long as our staff, students and parents are prepared.”

While the decision to have a distance learning day was understandable to some, there were community members who were disappointed in the district’s decision to forgo a traditional snow day.

“I’m actually irritated,” said Marcy Ruminer, a Dowagiac resident with children in the district. “Just because they decided to implement virtual learning doesn’t mean kids don’t deserve snow days.”

Ruminer believes the past year has been very taxing on children and their families, and that students should be able experience some normalcy via long standing traditions like snow days.

“Every district around us was closed,” Ruminer said. “They have had one snow day this year. These kids deserve snow days because they have been through so much. I understand education is very important but if you overwork them, they will give up on you.”

Cass County

Two arrested following Ontwa Township drug bust

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan reports 893,756 cases, 19,664 deaths

Cassopolis

Cassopolis receives NEP grants

Education

EPS to host student vaccination clinic

Cass County

PHOTO STORY: Cass District Library hosts Barnyard to Go event

Education

Books for Bikes program continues at Eagle Lake Elementary

Cassopolis

Former Cassopolis village trustee dies at age 85

Business

Lavender U-pick farm opens for season in Niles

Berrien County

United Federal Credit Union helps the Alex Mandarino Foundation raise $35,000 for childhood cancer research

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Middle School honor roll

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan reports 893,582 cases, 19,662 deaths

Cass County

Niles woman injured in Mason Township crash

Berrien County

Gov. Whitmer announces plan to expand tuition-free college to 22,000 additional Michiganders

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Union High School honor roll

News

Niles Township residents raise concerns about theft, dangerous intersection

News

PHOTO STORY: Work on downtown Niles mural begins

Cass County

Cass County Courts restart jury trials, reopen building

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Middle School Esports team finishes successful inaugural season

Cass County

PHOTO STORY: Cass District Library branches host tie-dye workshops

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Police Log: June 16-20

News

Niles police searching for information in June 13 shooting

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan reports 893,491 cases, 19,647 deaths

Cassopolis

Cassopolis residents host Juneteenth event at Clisbee Park

Berrien County

I&M provides update on power outages