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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

No more snow days? Not yet

Snow days have not been canceled, despite the rise of remote learning, writes Nathan M. Sorber, a higher education professor at West Virginia University, on The Conversation. In the 35 states with the highest average annual snowfall, "while more schools are using remote learning days instead of canceling classes, the traditional snow day is far from extinct."

Photo: Bulat Khamitov/Pexels

"During the pandemic years, more schools got better at teaching online and saw opportunities to reduce school closings during winter storms," he writes. But few believe students learn much from remote classes.

Some urban school systems, such as New York City, St. Paul and St. Louis announced plans to replace snow days with remote learning. But most will not. "For example, in Baltimore, the superintendent announced that remote learning would be used . . . only 'as a last resort' after the five makeup days in the calendar were exhausted."

Nostalgia also plays a role. In West Virginia, schools will use a portion of their allotted nontraditional instruction days but reserve an “old-fashioned snow day” for students.

The nostalgic sentiment for preserving the snow day tradition was epitomized in a viral post from Jefferson County, West Virginia, Superintendent Bondy Shay Gibson, who declared on the first snow day of last year that school would be “closed for students … closed for virtual … closed for staff.” She said, “For generations, families have greeted the first snow day of the year with joy. … It is a time of renewed wonder at all the things that each season holds. A reminder of how fleeting a childhood can be. An opportunity to make memories with your family that you will hold onto for life.”

When New York was hit by a blizzard in December, "Buffalo Public Schools chose to shift to remote learning, but neighboring Niagara Falls canceled" school, Sorber writes. "For now, children can continue with rituals to flush ice cubes down the toilet, wear pajamas inside-out and place spoons under their pillows – and hope not only for a snow day, but for a day without remote learning too."

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Jan 07, 2023

That article about Buffalo was from February of last year, when the district was under a previous superintendent. Both the Thanksgiving snowstorm which dumped 7 feet and the killer blizzard in December resulted in real snow days, with no attempt at virtual learning. Half of those don't even count against our snow days because there was a declared State of Emergency at the time. Only a few buildings had to go virtual in the first week of January this year due to damage from the storm.


Steve Sherman
Steve Sherman
Jan 07, 2023

Why would the teachers unions be against remote days unless ultimately they just want to watch soaps in their pajamas

Jan 08, 2023
Replying to

Lower middle class doesn't have subsidy, not enough income. That means they won't get the lesson, but they won't fall far enough behind to qualify for 'extra help'. Those that have subsidized internet will not be cared for at home, they'll be at the backup day care which doesn't have enough bandwidth for all the cousins to be on the internet at once or doesn't have internet at all. And the teens won't be able to attend class, as they will be doing childcare.

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