Yes, We Should Get Rid of Snow Days This Year

By Alexandra Duta (III), Contributing Writer

This coming winter, most students and teachers in Boston Public Schools will be attending school in a virtual setting due to the pandemic. The manner in which they conduct online learning has made it possible for school to be held despite hazardous and restricting weather, such as excessive snow. If there is a “snow day,” online school can still be held as per usual. Snow days should not be held this winter, as they would drastically impact learning and interfere with schedules, causing unnecessary stress.

During a normal school year, students and teachers grow accustomed to following their carefully planned schedules. The unpredictable occurrence of a snow day, however, breaks the rhythm to which they are attuned. In online learning, where circumstances are fluid and stress is high, this hits especially hard. Ms. Cheralyn Pinchem, Boston Latin School History teacher, states, “snow days would be just one more thing to have to deal with as opposed to prior to the pandemic.”

When a snow day is announced, staff are forced to pivot immediately. Teachers already have it rough this year because of the late start to the school year and the difficulties of online teaching and grading. Coupled with the fact that they only have around half the amount of time to teach than they would have in-person, the situation becomes much more stressful.

Additionally, Ms. Pinchem has the fixed AP exam date looming over her. Because she needs to prepare her students for the test, she “map[s] out a calendar” for the year. Although she “build[s] in flexible days to account for events like assemblies,” sometimes this method does not always work, such as the 2014 to 2015 school year, in which there were a total of eight snow days. Having to adapt to the uncertainty of snow days makes the job of being a teacher much more cumbersome, which in turn causes the students to have more trouble understanding and mastering the material.

Even before the pandemic, most teachers gave homework over snow days. Due to the shortened schedule of only three classes per week, teachers will likely want students to make up the work that would have been done in class that day rather than give them the day off. Since students are still making up for missed work and losing a day of summer for rest, snow days are detrimental to students’ education.

For example, if students were supposed to have an exam on a snow day, they would probably still be studying for it the day before. Mr. John Kerpan, who teaches Latin, explains that on a day off, most students would prefer to have “a calm day at the end of the school year” rather than a tiring day in the middle of the year.

Without snow days, both students and teachers would have more time to devote to personal pursuits and be less stressed. Before the pandemic, it was not possible to renounce snow days, but now with the changed circumstances, it should definitely be considered.