Should the NJ Department of Education allow virtual snow days?

Following the success of virtual learning over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, a question has been raised of whether or not snow days should be replaced with online classes.

Adviser’s Note: The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this opinion article belong solely to the author and do not reflect the view of The Colt Chronicle Staff, Kinnelon High School, or its students and staff members.

During the Covid pandemic, students across America had to become accustomed to virtual learning. Instead of waking up early and rushing to catch a bus, students would wake up and boot up their computers to go to school. But instead of walking into a classroom where they can talk with their friends before class, they are put into a waiting room where they await their teacher’s permission to enter class. 

Virtual learning was a necessity during the Covid pandemic, and now that it’s no longer a necessity (for most students), the question is: What about snow days? Now that virtual learning has been tried and has been proven to work, should snow days be replaced?

Why Snow Days Should Stay

Snow days are mornings in the middle of the winter when students wake up, look outside, and see the snow on the ground. Then, their phone rings, and they hear that there is a snow day. But instead of having a fun-filled day of snowball fights, going sledding with friends, and hot cocoa, students may have to sit at their computers all day and attend socially isolated online classes. Anyone who has been through online learning can agree that it simply is not the same as in-class learning. If snow days are replaced with virtual learning, students lose a valuable opportunity to decompress from the overwhelming stress that they are continually placed under, simply enjoy childhood, and socialize in a manner that they have been denied over the course of the pandemic.

Benefits of virtual learning on snow days

Students in the state of New Jersey are accustomed to incredibly snowy winters. This of course means they receive a fair amount of snow days. Thus, every other year or so the school systems need to use too many snow days and it cuts into both spring and Memorial Day breaks. Everyone loves snow days but nobody enjoys the sight of a shortened spring break. 

Additionally, in cases of monstrous snowstorms, students frequently are denied access to school for extended periods. Virtual learning offers the opportunity to lessen the damage to students’ educations in such cases. 

Should snow days be replaced with virtual learning?

After evaluating the merits of both sides, it is evident that there should still be snow days. However, the number of snow days that students received should be lessened, perhaps to around two or three per year. After these snow days are used, virtual learning should begin in order that students not lose spring or Memorial Day breaks. If this policy were instituted, students would still experience the joy of a snow day while losing neither excessive education time nor a portion of their spring break.