Kids who go to school online don't feel effects of snow days

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PEOSTA, Iowa (KCRG) -- Snow days haven't impacted some eastern Iowa students because they go to school online.

Samantha Spielbauer, a student of the Iowa Virtual Academy, works on her computer at home in Peosta on Monday, Feb. 25, 2019. (Allison Wong, KCRG-TV9)

Samantha Spielbauer is a student of the Iowa Virtual Academy, which is a K-12 online school that kids can enroll in across the state. As an eighth-grader, Samantha attends school in the front room of her house.

"The teachers will get on and...it's kind of like a FaceTime but you can see their board, but you can’t see them," Samantha explained.

She enrolled in the virtual school for seventh-grade so she could commit more time to gymnastics. If she went to a traditional, brick and mortar school, she would go to one in the Western Dubuque Community School District. Those schools have had 12 cancellations, six delays, and three early releases since January 1. The Iowa Virtual Academy has had zero.

However, Samantha does have eight other siblings, six who go to public school. That makes mornings interesting when they don't have to go to school.

Samantha said, "the first thing that popped into my mind was everybody else in my house is going to be home and I'm going to still have to do school."

Her mom, Christa Hefel said, "when there's snow days, it can be a little crazy here, because everybody's all excited. And then Sam gets to hide in her room and get her school work done."

However, she has a positive outlook about that.

"I just try to keep it like you get it done today, that's another day they're in school and I'm not," she said.

She'll finish eighth grade on May 30 and her siblings won't be done with school until June 7. Those school days will also be extended by 25 minutes starting on March 11. That's what keeps Samantha motivated on those snowy and cold days.

"They're all going to be in school now weeks and weeks and I'm going to be done with school," she said.

Hefel said, "her and I always joke that we’re going to be in the pool while everybody else is in school for a while.”