Flexible Instruction Days, snow days, and the pandemic

Gabriel Petrecz, Staff writer

As the Philadelphia region approaches the peak of the winter season, inclement weather will cause transportation problems at Archbishop Carroll. Furthermore, with the pandemic also in play, concerns about the safety of being in-person at school cause some uneasiness in students. 

Archbishop Carroll had its first Flexible Instruction Day (FID) on January 7. On that day, students were sent an online form to mark their attendance. They were then given assignments in each of their classes. 

Numerous students favored the substitution from in-person school to an FID. 

“I like flexible instruction days,” said senior Viky Fallouh. “I don’t have to wake up early, and I can do work on my own time.”

However, others missed traditional snow days. 

“Although Flexible Instruction Days are better than in-person school, I miss not having to worry about assignments being due throughout the day,” said junior Katrina Trimble. 

Mr. William Gennaro, the principal, provided insights into the guidelines the school is following given the new omicron variant of COVID-19, as well as the future of snow days. 

“The school will follow all guidelines provided by the PA Department of Health should the school reach a number of cases that might require the school to adjust its mode of instruction,” said Mr. Gennaro. 

Some students said not all at Carroll were following guidelines. 

“I felt unsafe going to school last week,”  said junior Paige Quigley. “Multiple people around me were sick and not taking the proper precautions to stay safe. There was only so much I could do to try to avoid them.”

Another junior, Lydia Stong, said more must be done to lessen the risk. 

“I feel a little bit unsafe because at least half the school doesn’t follow the precautions set in place,” said Stong. “I don’t want to go back to hybrid or virtual learning, so this makes me upset when some individuals don’t follow the basic measures. I also don’t want the constant cycle of peaking and dropping cases. Something needs to change to prevent this from going on forever.”

Regarding the future of snow days, “most of them will be replaced with FIDs,” said Gennaro. “Currently, the PA Department of Education allows schools to use five FIDs during the school year and have them count towards the required total of school days for the school year. No determination has been made past this year. A Flexible Instruction Day works the same as it did last year: teachers will post an assignment on Schoology by a certain time and will be available for three hours between 10 am and 2:30 pm to answer questions for students. Students will be responsible for any work posted.”