Has Virtual Learning Ruined Sacred Snow Days?
I'm sure most people have at least a few childhood memories of the sacred snow day. The one day in the week where just enough snow fell that school officials decide to call off classes for a day as to not risk health and safety of those that would be traveling to school. It was often the best single day of the school year... but it's not universal across the nation, and worse yet, with the advent of Distance Learning, the dream may be dead for some communities.
Growing up in North-Central Oklahoma, ice storms were notorious and snow was always a welcome bonus if everything was going to be frozen anyway. No matter how many storms we caught, my little hometown was never prepared for it. Snow days were super common. From the moment we woke up, our eyes were glued to the TV waiting on the scrolling text to tell us our school district was closed. The millisecond we confirmed it, all the kids in the neighborhood would be outside, dressed head to toe in our cold weather gear, doing whatever we could with whatever nature provided us. There was a drainage ditch running through the neighborhood, when it froze, we would skate and play really amateur hockey on the worlds smallest patch of ice. If there was snow, we built forts and had snowball fights.
When we lived in Denver, there was no such thing as a snow day. I can remember waking up mornings that saw multiple feet of snow fall overnight. Didn't matter, bundle up and go to school. But the neighborhoods were built for that. They had sidewalk pathways behind all the houses, think of it like every house had a park behind their house. Those sidewalks were heated, so there was always a safe way to walk to school without the threat of a vehicle sliding out of control. In all my years there, I do remember my mom keeping us home for the day, but I never remember the schools closing because of the weather.
The conversation about snow days started last October when that freak ice storm blew in. How would the virtual and distance learning affect the childhood sacred snow day? In Lawton, it doesn't seem like the kids are getting much slack this time around. Virtual classes are in session tomorrow. On the flip side, Elgin has announced their students are out tomorrow, no school. It made me quietly wonder if my nephews that still live in my hometown would be enjoying a few free days off too. Luckily, they're in a district where laptops are assigned to students, but they're not allowed to take them home unless a planned distance day is on the calendar. When their freezing rain started Sunday, the schools there announced there would be no classes. Not in person, obviously, but also not virtually since the schools hadn't released their laptops to them last Friday.
In short, the sacred snow day still exists in some places... I guess it's really up to how uncool your local superintendent is.