Community / Opinion

A case for snow days

Since Covid-19 hit and everything turned virtual, schools like Dana Hall are facing the challenge of retaining a healthy balance between going to school and giving students the occasional snow day. We no longer technically need snow days, but snow days go hand in hand with winter in Massachusetts. This winter, we went to school over Zoom on a snowy December school day that would have been cancelled in a normal year, and then Ms. Bradley generously called a snow day in February when we technically could have gone to classes remotely. I encourage the administration to continue the practice of snow days even in this new era of Zoom.

One important reason to bring back our snow days is that it allows school to bring some touch of normalcy back to the crazy year we have had. Snow days are something of the pre-Covid world, and if we have something that is a callback to a much simpler time, it will allow students and faculty alike to enjoy and appreciate a touch of normalcy when virtually everything about our world has changed. 

The most important reason to have regular school days is the vital psychological need to take a day off and reset. A snow day is great for cozying up with a cup of hot cocoa and a good movie, and having a day off to dedicate to nurturing and caring for your mental health will ultimately improve your focus and benefit your performance in school. We spend the majority of the day online, and being able to unplug and spend time playing with your pet, or going on a snowy walk, will surely benefit your mood and stress levels and make you ready to hit the ground running after the snow day.

When there was an all-virtual day back in December due to a snowstorm, it didn’t feel any different than a regular school day because of the fact that we have all mastered Zoom and virtual learning by now. It didn’t feel right to be sitting in my room and being in Zoom classes all day, when I could have (in a normal year) been outside with my siblings and dog. 

I offer the following suggestions for snow day guidelines that the school could follow when snow falls in future winters:

  •  Dana Hall would have an automatic snow day if in the past two to three weeks we haven’t had any day off for any reason. This would work the best in the time period between Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend and Midwinter vacation. 
  • Snow in Massachusetts during Trimester 2 is almost guaranteed, so having two snow days at a minimum for the school year would be very close to what we have had in previous years.
  • If teachers/administrators are worried that we are missing out on valuable class time, there could be asynchronous class work for higher workload classes (AP and Honors classes).
  • Sports teams could have virtual workouts to keep a regular practice schedule.

It is good for one day to put on hold the greater issues at hand and focus on the simple pleasures of life that a snow day brings. Snow days are all around beneficial, and everyone can benefit from an earned day off, not just in this crazy year but in future years as well.

Photo credit: Ms. Angela Brown via the Dana Hall instagram, February 9, 2021 (@danahall).

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