It snows in Maine. Sometimes a lot. Sometimes it starts in November, and sometimes it doesn’t end until April.

With so much snow, you’d think Maine would be at the forefront of an effort to end snow days as we know them by allowing students to work remotely from home.

You’d be wrong.

While a few states have already put “remote school days” in place, the idea hasn’t really caught on in Maine – and it seems like the state Department of Education may be getting in the way.

In the Camden-Rockport area, School Administrative District 28 and the Five Town Community School District together were set to launch a remote school day pilot project on Dec. 1 but were told to hold off by state officials, who said the districts hadn’t met a series of stiff requirements. Instead, the state said, the schools have to wait until there have been at least five snow days to implement the new initiative.

We’re sure the DOE has its reasons, but the decision seems to go against the idea of home rule and experimentation within reason. After all, the Camden-area schools had worked on the initiative for a while, they were eager to try it out and their experience could have provided valuable lessons to other districts looking to do the same.

And there should be plenty of those. Snow days not only upset the school calendar, but also disrupt learning. Snow days take school days away during a time when, because of holidays and vacations, there are already a lot of breaks.

If there are too many snow days, days are tacked on to the end of the year, when it’s hot in the classroom and students are paying more attention to the coming summer than to their studies.

And when we send kids to school so few days when compared to other countries, we can’t afford to lose any.

Of course, there are challenges. Not every student has internet access at home, and some subjects require close instruction that is hard to replicate remotely.

And we imagine some parents, remembering their own youth, believe in the value of a good snow day.

But those challenges can be overcome. Some schools pre-load assignments onto student laptops so that the internet is not necessary, or they show the students how to use a cellphone hotspot to get internet at home, as the Camden-area schools had planned.

Others use creative online portals for instruction, or, if in-person help is necessary, provide a few extra days after the day off to turn in an assignment.

As for the romantic view of snow days, that’s for local school boards and parents to hash out.

More school districts should give remote school days a chance, and the state should help them do it.

The rules for charter schools are looser than for other public schools, and Baxter Academy for Technology and Science, a Portland-based charter school, has used remote days for a while, and they are popular – this shows how it can work.

Remote school days are also popular in other states, including South Carolina, where a pilot project is underway.

If even a state in the South can figure out how to work on snow days, so can Maine.

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