Article by: Ethan Price
Image by: Getty Images / Marcia Straub
As 2020 winds to a close and the winter months are here, it’s clear that we could all use a snow day. For years, one of the greatest feelings to wake up to, for students and teachers alike, is the announcement that we will be out of school for snow. Whether you use that time to cuddle up with a cup of hot chocolate by the fire or to have an awesome snowball fight with your friends, it’s something that we can all find some joy in. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, the way that we learn has been fundamentally changed. Now that we have the capabilities to do school work remotely, it begs the question, will we still have snow days?
Two Sides to Every Situation
If you look at it from the perspective of someone completely apathetic to the joys of snow days, there isn’t any reason to “close” school. Obviously, in-person schooling would be canceled, but they could easily just change it to a remote day. In that case, a day of learning would not be lost, and the schedule would go on as planned. The negative side to that is that the students and teachers would not have time to enjoy the snow day as they normally would. What kid wants to be stuck inside all day when there’s a foot of snow outside?
On the other hand, some people firmly believe snow days should be preserved regardless of whether they can be worked around. In their eyes, snow days are a fun part of any person’s childhood that shouldn’t be taken away. For years, our school system has managed to make up for the few snow days that we have without an issue, so why change that now?
What Do the Students and Teachers Think?
A few students and teachers have shared their opinions on the topic. When asked about the future of snow days, sophomore Marc Winfrey says, “Snow days are an important part of child development. The best memories are made on snow days, and making a child work on those days will rob them of those memories. Students should be playing in the snow or making cookies, not sitting in front of a computer trying to find some useless math problem!”
Other students echoed Winfrey’s attitude, worrying about the possibility of never having a normal school day again. Sophomore Kaylee Robertson says, “I know the school is promising to create a balance between remote days and snow days, but they’ve also promised a lot of that this year hasn’t fully happened. The idea of waking up and seeing snow outside your window just to sit back down at your desk to work on a Chromebook sounds terrible. If things continue the way they seem to be, some kids may never have a normal school day as we’ve had before.” With Covid-19 remaining ever-present with no end in sight, it isn’t out of the question to wonder if the school will ever be the same.
A few teachers have given their input as well, both expressing that it just depends on the situation. English teacher Mr. Barker gave some insights into what snow days look like for teachers. “With as difficult as hybrid learning has been for both students and staff, I am not opposed to the occasional taking of a traditional snow day to give people a break. Being a teacher, though, I know that I would probably end up having to work on the day off anyway, so I don’t know that it will fundamentally change much on my end.” He also brought up an interesting situation in which the snow caused power outages for students and staff. “If any of us were to lose power, it would be unfortunate to require teachers or students to ‘attend’ classes when they are unable to do so. Those calls will need to be made on a case-by-case basis.”
Science teacher Mr. Ferebee also shared his opinion, outlining what would likely happen in different scenarios. For a schedule similar to this year, he states, “We don’t really have time to lose, so it should be a virtual learning day.” For a typical school year with an average amount of snow, “…the first one or two we can use as an impromptu break. People always welcome them and they can be useful mind breaks so no one goes crazy!” His statement regarding a typical school year with a heavy amount of snow demonstrated how it could offset the pace of the school year. “I think we have to go back to using them as virtual days… If we’re missing a week at a time, that’s going to severely impact our semesters.”
How is Davie County Schools Handling Snow Days?
Fortunately, the school system has shared information regarding this topic. In the December issue of DCS School Matters, Superintendent Jeff Wallace is quoted saying, “Remote learning has allowed us to learn virtually even though buildings may be closed. However, we have decided that snow days should remain as snow days whenever possible!” It is unclear how many snow days they would allow, but that at least means that snow days are not a thing of the past.
How is Everyone Else Handling Snow Days?
School districts across the nation have issued varying statements in regard to the future of snow days. According to USA Today, “Education Week, a news organization covering K-12 education, surveyed principals and district leaders in November and found nationally that 39% converted snow days to remote learning days and 32% were considering it.” New York City announced in September that their school district would go to remote learning on days that they could not have school in-person. Neshaminy School District in Pennsylvania will continue to have snow days unless they threaten to lengthen the school year, and West Hartford Public Schools in Connecticut will only give students and staff the day off for the first two snow days of the year. Their statements are similar to the one that Superintendent Jeff Wallace made.
In the event that we do have a snow day in the coming months, it is important to take precautions to keep yourself and others safe from the coronavirus. Getting a day off from school doesn’t mean that you get a day off from the pandemic! The best way to stay safe is to simply enjoy the snow day within your own family. You can go out and build a snowman with your family or enjoy some snow cream. If you do choose to hang out with your friends, it is advisable to stay outside and keep six feet between you and your friends at all times. Have an awesome snowball fight, or go racing down a hill in your sleds. There are still plenty of ways to stay safe and have fun in the snow during the pandemic, and that is important to remember. Image above from unsplash.com
Have a happy and healthy winter and happy holidays from us to you here at the Weekly Talon!