For many kids, there’s a two-word phrase that can bring about a certain type of unexpected excitement and delight that’s hard to match: “snow day.” It’s almost only matched by the sense of disappointment kids have when they go to bed the night of a winter storm, only to wake up and find out that school hasn’t been cancelled.
But with the rise of remote learning and schools’ abilities to teach when the building is closed, some people have started to wonder:
Will there be snow days this year, or will schools turn to remote learning in the event that road conditions are poor -- thus allowing the school year to end on schedule in the spring?
We reached out to a handful of school districts and other individual places of learning to find out what their plans are.
Colchester School District Superintendent Amy Minor said that she’s “leaning” towards having a few snow days to start the winter but that the district will “continue to investigate the possibility of us converting those from snow days into remote learning days. We're just not there yet as part of our planning process.”
Minor said that she wants to at least give students, and staff who also enjoy the unplanned days off, a small sense of normalcy by keeping the practice of closing school in the event of a storm.
“Our students have had so much taken away from them this school year as a result of COVID,” she said. “Having an opportunity for a snow day -- I think our students across the district would welcome that tradition staying in place. That opportunity to wake up in the morning, look outside, and see all of that snow -- and then to know that they can be home for the day -- that's an excitement of childhood.”
Essex Westford School District is in a similar boat with Superintendent Beth Cobb saying it’s “looking” like the district will continue to have no-school snow days. She did note, however, that in the event of a significant storm in the forecast, the plans might change and the district will move to remote learning if buildings are to be closed for more than a day.
Milton Town School District is also in the camp of allowing students and staff to completely have the day off of assignments and work in the case of inclement weather. “Milton has decided to keep 'snow days' as traditional snow days and make up any missed days at the end of the year,” said Superintendent Amy Rex. “In part, we feel as though students are already spending too much time in 'remote' learning, and we do not want to add to it. That being said, we also communicated to families that if the number of snow days became excessive, that we may revisit the decision.”
Winooski’s schools won’t deviate from that line of thinking with Superintendent Sean McMannon saying, “Winooski School District will be doing snow days as normal.”
The only district or school that answered our inquiry and said that it will utilize the virtual style of learning in lieu of snow days was Rice Memorial High School. President and Principal Lisa Lorenz said, “Rice plans on calling snow days to be a full-on remote learning day.”