Photo by Ela Jalil
Imagine a time where you don’t have to go to school past June 16. A time where Spring Break isn’t cut short to make up for the missed learning due to snow days. This is now the reality and it should stay like this in MCPS, even without COVID-19. Snow days are, and should be, a thing of the past.
While it’s hard to argue against such a beloved and long-held tradition as snow days, it is the most logical course for the county to take. There is no point in taking off days for school when everyone is able to attend classes from the safety of their homes. Why would we make it so the county has to cut off days during Spring Break or add days to the end of the school year to compensate for missed days that did not need to occur in the first place.
Snow days happen when the county deems the conditions too dangerous for students to travel in. It is not intended for students to have fun in the snow. With virtual learning, students and teachers never have to leave their houses, therefore eliminating the need for snow days at all. However, having days off of school is not entirely a thing of the past; if WiFi is down or there are power outages, students can enjoy a peaceful day without learning.
Some could argue that kids have lost enough due to this pandemic and virtual learning, and that it would provide a sense of normalcy during this tough time. However, one of the most memorable moments of snow days is the ability to stay home from school – something that we now do every single day- making this former sentimental occasion no longer special.
Students already get to sleep in later than they would with in person school, as well as getting opportunities to sleep in on Wednesdays and days without Advisory. Also, with Wednesdays being asynchronous learning, having days off during the school week is not a momentous occasion.
During previous years, students still received work to complete during snow days, however if the break was too long, then it cut into any new learning for that period of time. Getting rid of snow days increases the efficiency and continuity of learning, due to the lack of gaps between teaching. With each class taking place only twice a week already, it would be irresponsible to take away any more time from learning, especially for high schoolers taking AP courses that run on tight schedules.
According to a CBSN article, it takes up to three days for 2-4 inches of snow to melt at 50 degrees. If the temperature is below freezing, which are normal conditions during Maryland snow storms, then the snow will last even longer. All of this means that even if elementary school students have to undergo a school day that runs from 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m., then they still have plenty of time after school to play in the snow and drink as much hot chocolate as they want.
The last time that it snowed this December was on a Wednesday, which we already had off on in the first place. This means that students can have traditional snow days if they fall on Wednesdays or the weekend. Our school week is already shortened, and there is absolutely no reason to cut it down anymore.
Without additional days off for snow, something that the county should contemplate is creating a longer Winter Break, considering that many schools have three week long breaks, whereas MCPS only has two weeks allocated to Winter Break. Instead of having spontaneous days in the year to relax, the county needs to take into account the mental health of its students and give them adequate breaks for them to destress.
With the Superintendent of MCPS also believing that snow days might become obsolete in the future, look past the nostalgia, and see how no snow days are beneficial for all.