Responses to a district-wide survey on whether to hold remote learning on snow days drew contrasting responses from students and adults. Kids resoundingly want to retain the joy and magic of a snow day, while the adults are more concerned with work-related complications, having help shoveling driveways, and ending the school year earlier.
69% of 335 student respondents in grades 7-12 wanted school to be closed for snow days even if it extended the school year or shortened breaks while only 34% of 669 families and 36% of 337 staff wanted school to be closed.
The survey revealed that 27% of families and 36% of staff reported losing power or internet access during storms, rendering remote learning inaccessible. In addition, staff who have been teaching remote classes from the school buildings due to insufficient internet access or space at home would not be able to come to school if a snow day was called and likely unable to teach.
Superintendent Michael Morris recommended to the School Committee — and they agreed — that he use discretion when calling a snow day, reserving it for more significant storms that are predicted to dump deep snow and that school would be held as normal with lesser snowfalls.
Some respondents suggested a 2-hour delay or a half day rather than cancelling school so that kids could still enjoy the snow and/or help with shoveling driveways but it would not lengthen the school year or shorten breaks.
Both Morris and School Committee member Peter Demling drew attention to some of the comments made by students in the survey that painted a picture of a treasured New England tradition. One student wrote, “There is so much cultural significance to the idea of a snow day. I would hate for a future generation of children to not understand the excitement of watching the news in the morning in their PJ’s and then spend the rest of the day drinking cocoa and making snowmen.”