OPINION: Cancel school, not snow days

Opinions writer fights for schools to keep snow days despite recent virtual learning strategies, photo courtesy of Flickr.

Cat McNamara
Contributing Writer

Students native to areas with cold winters know the excitement and hope that comes from news of incoming snow. 

Days off school due to the cold weather conditions are a staple in midwestern and northeastern culture. Students wake up to a world covered in a thick blanket of white knowing that it could only mean one thing: a snow day! 

I  fondly remember the days when my mom would wake me up in the morning to let me know that my school was on the list of cancellations for the day. Snow days weren’t just a day off of school, they were an opportunity to break out the sleds and toboggans that had been collecting dust during the warm months and meet up with the friends at the steepest hill in town. 

My sister and I, bundled up in too many layers that our mom made us wear, would take turns plunging down the hill at record speeds only to have to trudge all the way back up, sled in hand. We would do that enthusiastically for hours until it was time to go inside for some well-deserved hot chocolate. 

The thought of school and homework often escapes students during snow days. In fact, it’s one of the reasons why the days are so cherished in the first place. From elementary school to college, students know how to appreciate these break days when they arrive. However, snow days now may be a thing of the past.

In March 2020, the world was struck with the first major fallouts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools across the country closed their doors to in-person learning in order to keep the spread of Coronavirus contained. In order to adapt to the circumstances at hand, schools adopted a virtual platform to connect with students and allow them to continue their studies from the safety of their homes. 

Nearly a year later, some classes have returned to a modified version of in-person learning, but many continue virtually. With the first news of inclement winter weather came the announcement that, because of the ability to operate class from home, some schools and universities would no longer be giving students the day off. 

This effectively declared that the coveted snow day would be no more. All hopes of sleeping in or spending time outside in the fresh powder quickly went down the drain.

In a year filled with changes and anxieties caused by the pandemic, yet another thing students thought they could hold onto had been ripped away from them. Schools and universities argue that they are trying to help students continue to learn on schedule, but schools have been granting snow days for years without any drastic consequences to education. 

Studies have already proven that students learning virtually are suffering from Zoom fatigue and increased amounts of stress because of the hours spent staring at a computer screen while attending class. Taking aways snow days does more harm than any intended good. 

The mental health of today’s students needs to be a priority for educational institutions instead of enforcing virtual lessons because it’s convenient. Stripping students of days off for inclement weather hinders them psychologically and emotionally.

It’s hard to imagine the next generation growing up and not knowing what a snow day is, so I urge schools and universities to keep intact the days off that students go as far as flush ice cubes and turn their pajamas inside out for. 

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