2020 shouldn’t be the end of snow days

Remote access to learning shouldn’t be the end of a time-honored tradition for children everywhere


Courtesy of Pixabay.com

Emily Paulin, Opinions Writer

Snow days are one of the best parts of winter. Waking up when the world is blanketed in white and realizing there is no school is a magical feeling. Students and teachers alike only get the opportunity to sled, make hot chocolate and have snowball fights a few times a year. Remote learning throws snow days’ existence into question and threatens to take away the magic of snow. Though this unprecedented year has caused a lot of change, it is not a valid reason to get rid of snow days. 

On December 17, the first snow of the year, classes still took place at RV even though the school was closed for inclement weather. Sadly, this could become the expectation for the next few months.

“I would say for this year, it’s something we’re looking to seriously consider because we have that opportunity to do it from the Department of Education,” said Principal Martin.

Though school is important, during these unprecedented times students need to wake up to the magic of snow and a day to enjoy themselves without the added stress of school. The state is only allowing online instruction on snow days now because of the ongoing pandemic and state of emergency.

According to the New Jersey Department of Education website, schools are allowed “to count days of remote instruction towards the required 180 days of school . . . This provision applies to days on which remote instruction is provided due to inclement weather.” What this means is that remote learning days are normally not permitted in New Jersey, but due to the pandemic, they now are allowed. This applies even on days when school is closed for snow. 

In New Jersey, even for schools capable of doing online learning, school is normally not allowed to take place on days of inclement weather. Why take away snow days now, when students are struggling more than ever before with mental health on top of school work? This thinking is backwards. 

Snow days are even more important now that we are in a pandemic. A snow day provides respite from the trudging boredom of online school and allows students to be children for a day. Senior Kim Kraska said, “Snow days are magical, they’re part of your experience as a child, and they can’t take all the fun out of school just because we have online school now.” 

RV still has built-in snow days, so canceling classes when the school closes for snow would not adversely affect the calendar. According to the RV handbook, the built-in snow days are on January 29 between semesters, February 12 and March 5. In the event that we use all three of them, remote learning on snow days would be a good fallback. 

However, situating snow days when the snow is falling or actually on the ground would allow students to enjoy the snow while it is still there. They can sled or play, or spend a relaxing day in their pajamas and make hot chocolate. Too often, New Jersey gets a small amount of snow that melts before the next day, or even before the school day is over. Students should be given the opportunity to enjoy snow while it is still there. 

Snow is an essential part of a memorable winter, and snow days should not be taken away as a result of an already-terrible year. In this unprecedented time, students and teachers need fun, relaxing days to enjoy snow’s magic more than ever.