Are Snow Days Needed?

Will our newfound skills in remote learning take away the most exciting part of winter?

Are Snow Days Needed?

Growing up in New Hampshire, all students have been accustomed to large storms and inconvenient weather conditions. We have seen many snow days and some days into the summer due to the daily requirements that must be met every year. The Department of Education in New York City is now requiring all schools to use online learning on days that would have been considered snow days in the past. Souhegan, with it’s proactive administration, has had 5 built-in snow days, or days where school can be canceled, that do not affect the physical school year. After five cancellations, the missed days are added to the end of the year. This year, with our newfound skills in navigating online learning, school systems are asking if snow days are necessary at all this year.

Online learning provides many opportunities for students to attend schools in varied situations. Before the pandemic, many students used online opportunities such as attending online college courses, enrolling in VLACS courses, or taking extended learning opportunities through colleges. Since the pandemic hit the United States, many more students have taken advantage of these opportunities. VLACS has over 20,000 new enrollments this year and college programs have been seeing many more students attending their programs and seminars. Schools have seen this shift in students’ interest level, and are now hoping to take advantage of this new narrative and treat snow days as remote learning days.

Though snow days are fun and feel like a well-deserved break, there are benefits to making these remote learning days. If school is canceled because transportation is simply too dangerous, it is very possible this leaves us all stranded at our homes, but not necessarily without power. On snow days where we find ourselves with fully working electricity and wifi, it makes sense to make these days remote, so they do not count against our five built-in days, and can help us in the future if we have a larger storm that affects power for multiple days. Snow days are also utilized on flood days or days that the power is down in the building. If we choose to mandate remote learning for snow days, we will not have to worry about losing days of the summer. 

Our superintendent, Adam Steel, spoke on the matter and gave his personal outlook on the situation. “Snow days are an important part of our culture- who doesn’t get excited about a random, snowy day off from school?” It’s true, all those who live in New England are excited for a snowy hill on a weekday, even our teachers. “However, they do have the potential to extend our school year and interrupt our summer. So, now that we have become proficient with technology, we are going to have snow days until we hit the point where it could extend our school year.”  Once we have used our five built-in snow days, all future cancellation days will be ruled remote, unless power outages prevent students from attending.