Save our snow days

Snow days now seem obsolete in a virtual learning environment, but they should remain as a key part of our school experience.

The virtual format of school seems to have made snow days a thing of the past—but are they something worth keeping? | Graphic by Emmi Wu ’23/Staff 

Virtual learning, a result of the coronavirus pandemic, seems to have been a long time coming. In our day and age, where electronic devices control most of our schools, jobs, extracurriculars, hobbies, and communication, it’s a bit surprising that it took a pandemic for online schooling to become an option at many in-person institutions.

Regardless, here we now are. And virtual learning has had many unforeseen consequences. One such consequence is that snow, or any extreme weather, no longer has to result in school cancellations, not when students can attend their classes from the safety and comfort of their own homes.

Snow days have long been debated over. Administrators have always agreed on the inconvenience that they bring, and how hard they are to plan for. Among other reasons, one concern is the potential for makeup days. Since a certain number of school days are required in a year, too many snow days can result in precious break time to be shortened, or taken away. A few years ago, I remember LMSD making the call that, after too many snow days that winter, students would have to attend school on Monday and Tuesday the week of spring break, with vacation not starting until that Wednesday. This was a decision, of course, that nobody was happy about. And one that virtual snow days would actively prevent in the future.

So it seems as if having virtual schooling on days that may have previously seen schools cancelled is a convenient solution for all parties involved.

Only, it may not be. Personally, I hate the idea of snowy days becoming a thing of the past. And I know a fair number of fellow students who share that opinion.

I can think of a number of reasons this might be the case. First and foremost are my qualms with the school system. I consider myself a curious person, someone who loves to learn. Yet, I always seem to find myself dreading going to school. Even though there are some classes I enjoy, I am still perpetually looking forward to the moment the 2:40 bell rings, signaling that I can finally go home.

Even considering students who love school, I think it’s fair to say that snow days are universally adored and hoped for.
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The reason I believe this happens is that the structure that LM follows, along with most or all other schools in the United States, alienates many teenagers. Worksheets, standardized testing, grades, and piles upon piles of homework are all more than enough to turn children off to learning. Their very nature makes school seem like a chore, when that’s far from what it should be.

Students should love school. There are so many things I’d love to learn about, and imperialism in the 1900s is not one of them. That isn’t to say that nobody is interested in history, only that it’s a subject I personally do not have a passion for, yet am still forced to learn about. Conversely, I know many people who hate writing literary analyses in English classes when that is something I’ve always enjoyed.

My point being, American institutions force teenagers to take classes in subjects that they have little or no interest in. And because of this, almost every student I know jumps at the opportunity for a snow day, as it means not having to go to school and take classes that we don’t particularly care about.

Even considering students who love school, I think it’s fair to say that snow days are universally adored and hoped for. This can probably best be explained by the fact that everybody needs a break now and again, even from something that one enjoys. Maybe even especially from something that one enjoys, lest it start to become tedious and unexciting after so long.

Finally, snow days have become somewhat of a tradition for young children. I remember throughout my entire childhood the rush I’d get when snow would start falling one night and introduce the possibility of a snow day the next day. When talking to others, both from my own generation and generations before, they described having similar experiences.

So, I argue for snow days to stay, for the sanity and overall happiness of the student body. And, quite possibly the teachers’ as well. I can’t speak to their feelings, but I know that many adults, my mom included, love snow days, even while loving their jobs. So, despite the fact that virtual learning on days when weather would normally cause an all-out cancellation makes sense at surface level, when one takes a deeper look into the issue, snow days hold a great deal of importance and should remain a part of students’ lives.