By Jay P. Goldman |
Even though it was bone-numbingly frigid in much of the country with several feet of snow and power outages stopping the usual facets of human life in many corners, more than 120 members of AASA’s Governing Board had no trouble conducting a half day of association business on Tuesday, Feb. 16.
Never mind the wintry weather.
The virtual nature of this board meeting meant everybody could participate from the extreme comfort of their superintendent office or home workspace. Had the COVID-19 pandemic not undone AASA’s planned venture, all of the superintendent delegates would have had to overcome significant travel challenges this week to reach New Orleans, the intended venue of the 2021 AASA National Conference on Education and the semi-annual Governing Board meeting preceding it.
Instead, AASA has gone remote, turning to Zoom for its Governing Board. But many of those participating used the outset of the afternoon meeting to make note of what was unfolding outside their windows.
Mark Adler, superintendent of a district near Omaha, Neb., reported the wind chill reached minus-38, and Winfried Feneberg said his schools in New London, N.H., were operating remotely owing to snow and ice buildup. Brian Harris, of Barrington, Ill., noted suburban Chicago received up to 12 inches of snow overnight, adding to the two feet already on the ground.
For Heidi Sipe, superintendent, Umatilla, Ore., AASA conference week has become a predictable week of nasty elements. “This time last year, I missed AASA due to flooding,” she said in the Zoom chat forum. “This year, we have about 11 inches of snow. … It’s a mess.”
A few Governing Board reps in isolated places let their colleagues know not everyone was so troubled by the severe conditions outside. Debbi Burdick said her thermometer in Cave Creek, Ariz., registered 55 degrees. And Ann Levett said simply: “Hello everyone from Sunny Savannah, GA! Current temp is 59 degrees.”
Meanwhile, the Washington, D.C., area, where AASA staff members plus current president Kristi Wilson and incoming president Paul Imhoff gathered at a recording studio to conduct the Governing Board meeting, the temperature reached the upper 40s with no measurable precipitation.
(Jay Goldman is editor of Conference Daily Online and AASA’s School Administrator magazine.)