The student news sites of Edmond Memorial High School.

Ruff Draft

The student news sites of Edmond Memorial High School.

Ruff Draft

The student news sites of Edmond Memorial High School.

Ruff Draft


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The in-person vs. virtual learning predicament

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The decision behind virtual and in-person instruction

Oklahoma tends to experience inclement weather, making it difficult for districts to decide if they should cancel or not. While schools value in-person instruction, dangerous conditions may lead to virtual learning. There are many factors they must consider before canceling school, it is important for them to evaluate the current conditions thoroughly.

Multiple people help to make the decision on school cancellation. They have to evaluate numerous factors and communicate with the other schools to determine their verdict. However, Edmond Public Schools Superintendent Angela Grunewald is in charge of finalizing the decision. 

“Ultimately, the decision is mine, but I do not make it alone,” Grunewald said. “We have a team of six drivers who go out and check the roads. I also communicate and get input from our District Administration Team, as well as communicate with the other metro superintendents.”

Most times, when there is inclement weather, EPS opts for a virtual school day. With the help of her team, Grunewald is able to make the safest decision she can. Virtual days are beneficial because students can still do school work online without added makeup days to the end of the school year. However, not everyone prefers virtual instruction such as one English teacher.

“I definitely prefer in person school,” Melinda Moore said. “The most important part of my lesson is making sure that students understand it and learn the material. This is very difficult when a teacher cannot interact with his or her students. For me, virtual school is a lot like texting: you might get the same message but without the face-to-face interaction or tone of the conversation, the message might not be received correctly.”

While many believe virtual learning is ideal for students’ safety, many also believe it lacks the accountability of students finishing assignments that in-person instruction possesses. The main issue for school cancellation is for the families that rely on the school system for transportation and meals, which is another factor EPS takes into consideration before canceling.

“I also always try to remember the burden closing school puts on families,” Grunewald said. “There are students who count on the school to provide them breakfast and lunch. They don’t eat if we don’t have school. Also some parents have to take off work when we close school, and they don’t get paid if they don’t work. While safety has to be the most important factor, we cannot just close school when it might snow or might freeze.”

School being canceled can hurt many families, so EPS tries to have in-person instruction as often as possible, although sometimes it is dangerous to attend. 

“The first factor is road safety; the second is parking lots and sidewalks,” Grunewald said. “There have been a few times that temperature was a factor. Many students have to wait at bus stops or they walk to school. We do have to consider more than just the roads in our district. Many of our teachers drive in from all across the metro. If employees can’t get here, we can’t have school.”

When there is inclement weather, many people are affected. These conditions make it difficult for people to arrive on time for work and for students to arrive on time for school. While the main reason for school cancellation is because of the weather, there are a few other reasons.

“The safety and well-being of our students and staff are of utmost importance,” Wheeler said. “Apart from weather conditions, there may be other factors that could prevent the school from being in person. These could include natural disasters, health emergencies, safety concerns within the school premises and transportation disruptions.”

At Edmond Memorial High School, in person instruction is preferred, but it is sometimes unrealistic. All the teachers are dedicated to their students’ education so they put in their best effort to attend everyday.

“For me, it is essential to have in-person instruction, so unless it is absolutely necessary and in the best interest of the student and his/her family to have virtual learning, then in-person instruction should always be the best option,” Moore said.

In general, EPS will always try to have in person instruction. However, Oklahoma’s unpredictable weather conditions make this difficult to accomplish. Grunewald and her team try their best to predict weather patterns but it is impossible to be 100% every time. Virtual learning is helpful for when weather conditions are severe, but in-person instruction can not be replaced entirely. Everyone at EMHS tries their hardest for their students’ education, even during inclement weather. 

Contact Taylor Brakenhoff at [email protected]

About the Contributor
Taylor Brakenhoff
Taylor Brakenhoff, Contributing Writer
Hi! My name is Taylor Brakenhoff. I am a freshman and this is my first year being a Contributing Writer for the Ruff Draft. English has always been my favorite subject so I joined intro and I'm loving it so far! I also like to be with my friends and family in my free time!