Pro/Con: Should Snow Days Go Virtual?
January 27, 2022
It’s that time of the year when snow days roll around. However, the developments in remote learning over the pandemic pose the question: are snow days necessary anymore? With virtual learning, students no longer need to worry about snow days cutting into their summer break.
Virtual learning became a lifeline during the outbreak of COVID-19. Zoom, Google Classroom, and Canvas saved the schools during an uncertain time. These tools allowed students to access their work and teachers to continue instructional activity spontaneously. So why would we turn our backs on it now?
Every year we are only permitted three days off by MCPS. This way, schools can secure the necessary 180 days of instruction. Previously, snow days accommodated students who couldn’t get to school. But now we have a way around it. Virtual snow days will secure the longest possible summer while making it easier for students to continue learning.
The main problem with snow days is it takes away time from summer break and adds time to the school year. Even when we get a day off, the time still adds back on. So it may seem like we are getting time off, but in reality, we are in school for the same amount of time.
All states can decide how long students need to be in school. Maryland has a total of 180 days per year, only allowing for three added days off before summer gets shorter. While three days sounds nice, that time is easily taken up. Big storms continue to come, and they have no choice but to take away from summer and sometimes spring break. During the 2018-2019 school year, MCPS went over their snow day count and had to take from both summer and spring break.
In 2018 an article titled “Montgomery County is Out Of Snow Days – Is Your County” Stephanie Ramirez said, “An MCPS Spokesperson tells WUSA 9 if they close for snow on Wednesday, the next make-up day will be June 5th. They’ll work their way back into the calendar and even look at their Spring Break if need be.”
With all the days off, teachers and students often find it difficult to focus when returning to school. The time off throws students out of their schedules and routines. The change in the school days also makes lesson planning more difficult for teachers.
Everyone knows the struggle of returning from a snow day. You lose track of what is happening in classes and are left scrambling to catch up. Virtual snow days easily avoid this problem. All the learning you would miss throughout the year would be avoided and you would not have to worry about not being prepared.
According to CNN, “if students are snowed out of school, they won’t learn as much.”
Everyone knows snow days are a great time to catch up on sleep and have fun in the snow. Every student needs a break sometimes, but our winter is already full of brakes
While snow days are good breaks, we have tons of them already during the winter. After Thanksgiving break, there are only 18 days until winter break. Then there are only ten days of school until we have off for Martin Luthar King Jr day. Finally, you only have to wait four days until another day off for the end of the quarter professional day.
With all these days of no school during the winter, it is already hard to stay focused. Adding snow days will make it even harder for students to stay engaged and keep grades up.
Overall, snow days are detrimental to students and preventable with virtual days. It will give students longer summers, more breaks, and a better chance of doing well in school.
Every child should be able to have the memory of snow days for the rest of their lives. Waking up in the morning to the tap of your mom, telling you school is canceled. Looking outside to see the fluffy white snow falling from the sky. Texting your friends to hang out because you’re so eager to dive into the white pillows of snow.
The pandemic has opened up many new ways of learning for students. One of those ways is through Zoom. Recently, there have been talks about abolishing snow days as a whole. Parents, teachers, and Montgomery County board members have been the ones leading these discussions, but what about the students’ perspectives?
“During snow days, students and staff can enjoy their day off and the outdoors instead of staring at a screen all day,” Senior Jileen De Guzman said.
According to a study done by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), Teenagers spend up to 9 hours a day looking at screens. Snow days can give students a day to recharge and refresh. Brain breaks are needed and snow days provide a perfect opportunity for that.
“I enjoy having a break from school to just enjoy the winter weather and take the day off,” Senior Adele Sherlock said.
Students have been very Transparent about zoom. A lot of students found it hard to find the motivation to join their classes and there were too many distractions.
“I stare at a computer all day for instruction and classwork, then at 2:30, I have to do more homework that is also online,” De Guzman said.
Harsh weather can also impact students’ ability to join online classes. Power outages are a big issue with cold weather and heavy snow and these elements are out of student control. Students may also have to help their families around the house and outside by clearing pathways from the snow.
“It makes it difficult if power lines are ruined because of the snow and weather outside making many students unable to attend classes efficiently,” De Guzman said.
Learning at home would really provide no benefit to students as distractions are so easily brought up. Whether your phone, T.V., family, or other things I can speak for all students when saying this it is extremely hard to stay focused while learning online. After speaking with my peers some said they can’t remember a single thing from school last year (junior Dylan Ibrahimi).
Snow days are times for enjoyment and memories and not for being trapped in a room staring at a computer for 8 hours.
“I’ve had so much fun relaxing and hanging out with my friends on snow days” Ibrami said, “It’s nice to be able to create these memories for a lifetime.”