The fate of snow days in a digital world


Samantha Hairston

Snow gathering in Chesterfield County during an early winter snowstorm.

Snowfall has a significant impact on schools and workplaces, but should they be closed because of it, or used for virtual workdays instead?

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses and schools have learned to adapt by completing work and education virtually, because of this, many school systems around Virginia have indicated that they will explore options to utilize technology to hold classes while buildings are physically closed. This means that when schools are unopened due to inclement weather, completing education should not be a problem. 

The Commonwealth of Virginia requires that schools have 180 instructional days to educate students during the school year. Because of the increase in snow days, counties are more inclined to extend the school year for each day it snows. 

On top of that, the inaccessibility of technology for some students may prove difficult because some students may not have access to or a good connection in order to interact with their teachers and classmates. 

English teacher Dan Waidelich believes that asking students to work on snow days is concerning. 

“Snow days should be snow days. We’ve learned over the past few years that students and teachers all need the occasional break to do our best work,” Waidelich said. “I do believe we get more benefit from a day off than we would from a single virtual lesson that a good amount of students might not be able to access.”

While Waidelich believes that a day off is best for both students and teachers, he offers a much more realistic solution to the issue.  

“We should keep our snow days unless we have too many and they need to add in days at the end of the year,” Waidelich said.“If that’s the case, yeah, let’s go virtual so we can finish the year on time.”

Junior Ivey Critzer is also a firm believer in keeping to the original format and letting students and teachers have a day off on snow days. “Snow days should be off because school and time off should be equal for everyone,” Critzer said “Snow days are all students have left of [a] childhood/high school experience.”

Sophomore Nicholas Thornton believes that, on top of a nice break, snow days give students the opportunity to catch up on late work or to get ahead in class. 

“The snow days should be off,” Thornton said. “It’s nice downtime for the students and if students want to get caught up on work during the snow day they can without worrying about the next class.” 

Snow days can be effective even if students are not actively in school. It provides a nice break while also giving time to get for work done to get done. 

In conclusion, there are many ways schools are using snow days, whether it be closing doors or teaching online, however, nothing compares to a nice snow day off. Closing the building and having a day off for teachers and students is worth it. It allows students to catch up on work but also take a small break. Snow days off should be continued, at least until we are required to go virtual, should the school year get extended.