Snow days. A sacred day for students across the nation. A day for going outside with your friends, hot cocoa, and snowball fights. They create a much-needed break for all those involved in the education system right in the middle of the school year. Weekends, vacations, and holidays can also be a great supplier of said breaks, but nothing matches the spontaneity, and uncertainty of the elusive snow day.
Although, not all snow days are created equal. In some parts of the country students, buses, and teachers must journey straight through winter storms to make it to school, and only the nastiest of blizzards will have schools waiving the white flag. Alternatively, Portland Public Schools (PPS) will cancel school at the sight of precipitation below 32 degrees, or a morning frost on the ground. This means our year usually sees a decent supply of days that are nixed from the elements, but sadly, this year will see none of that.
Recently, in an email addressed to PPS families, the school district announced that due to distance learning snow days will no longer be necessary. Part of the email read, “Comprehensive Distance Learning will, in most cases, continue during inclement weather that in more normal times would have prompted us to close schools and declare a ‘snow day.’ This will allow us to protect instructional days whenever possible. Student and staff safety is always our highest priority; distance learning means potentially dangerous winter travel to and from school campuses is not necessary.”
Logically, doing away with snow days is completely reasonable given this year’s circumstances. Students and staff won’t need to leave their house for school to travel in potentially dangerous road conditions now that the infrastructure for learning from afar is in place, so why would you cancel school anyway?
The district said themselves that they would like to keep as many instructional days around as possible, which is completely understandable. Personally, I’m disappointed that they’re gone this year. I know the last thing I want to be doing when it snows is schoolwork. All I can do about it is keep moving forward and hopefully, next year snow days will be back to reclaim their glory.