Now that many schools are experienced with virtual learning, they may no longer need to cancel instruction because of inclement weather. But events from 2020 have already taken so much from us — they can’t ruin snow days too.
Everyone who’s grown up in the north may remember snow days as some of their fondest childhood memories. They were the best part of winter once the holidays had ended and spring break felt so far away. I’d check the weather forecast every week, and if there was ever a chance of snow — no matter how slim — there was sure to be excited chatter at school. The anticipation of snow would be enough to pull one through the bleak winter weeks because nothing was more exciting than waking up to a surprise day off.
As a little kid, I’d jump out of bed and run to the nearest window to marvel at all the snow I’d get to play in. I could hardly wait to get out my boots and snow pants and rush out the front door. It’d be a day full of snowmen, igloos, snow angels, snowball fights and sipping on hot chocolate to warm up.
As a teenager, the day off was just as important, as it meant a couple extra hours of precious sleep and time to catch up on homework. No matter the age, there was no better feeling than finding out school had been canceled for the day.
Despite the implementation of virtual learning, schools should continue to plan for snow days throughout the year. Switching to online school at the threat of snow fall would take all the joy out of snow. No kid wants to sit in front of a computer doing online school all day. Getting rid of days off and going virtual instead would ruin the positive association with snow and might even end up making kids dread it.
Superintendent, Bondy Shay Gibson, of Jefferson County Schools in West Virginia was one of the first to address this issue when she shared a letter December 16 stating that the county schools would have a day off so that the children could enjoy the fallen snow. “For just a moment,” Gibson wrote, “we can all let go of the worry of making up for the many things we missed by making sure this is one thing our kids won’t lose this year.” Gibson gained a great amount of support on social media and her example may hopefully inspire other schools to follow suit.
Virtual learning has been incredibly useful and essential during this pandemic, but once COVID-19 is no longer a threat, schools shouldn’t go online unless it’s absolutely necessary. This has been the case that every northern school district would build a certain amount of snow days into the academic calendar, and this should be adhered to. It’d make sense to use virtual learning only when the number of snow days starts to exceed the number of snow expected days. Schools shouldn’t rely on virtual learning after the pandemic has passed.
Children will forever treasure the days off to play in the snow and probably detest each one spent behind a computer doing school work. Teachers also deserve a day off every once in a while, and I’d bet most would much prefer it over continuing their lesson plans on Zoom. For the sake of all school children, don’t let snow days become a thing of the past.
Rachel Gordon is a freshman media arts and design major. Contact Rachel at firstname.lastname@example.org