Imagine this: you are in grade school again. You wake up to a cold wintermorning. You manage to lug yourself out of bed and put on your warmest sweater, itching to see if the rumors from yesterday are true. As you’re eating your favorite cereal, you’re scanning the line of text scrolling across the bottom of the T.V, looking for a familiar name. That’s when you see it. The name of your school next to the words “Closed.” Excitement fills your chest, and you know that today is going to be on of with joy and happiness from playing in the snow.
Today is going to have snowmen and forts and snowball fights and sledding and more games than you could ever imagine. Even though your fingers are going to be numb, your nose is going to be running, and your socks are going to be wet, you couldn’t care less. When is the next time you’re going toget to play like this? And when it’s over, there is going to be hot cocoa, fuzzy blankets,and holiday movies. And you know that you’re going to have to go to school again tomorrow, but it’s okay because for at least today, there are no tests, no teachers, and no homework. Today you just get to be a kid.
Fast forward to 2020. It would be an understatement to say that hasn’t been thebest year for everyone involved. Especially for children. I know that is a controversial statement to say, but I mean it with every fiber of my being. I’m not saying adults don’t have it hard: you all have bills to pay and children to take care of, but please, just think about what your children are feeling. Imagine for a second trying to continue with life and do schoolwork during something as traumatizing as a global pandemic, especially when you’re too young to have the mental and emotional skills to be able to deal with such a big change.And yes, many things have changed in the word, possibly forever. But thatdoesn’t mean everything has to change. Which is why the district’s decision to takeaway snow days for the rest of this school year is perhaps short-sighted. In the district’s remote learning update, released on December 15th, they stated,“We want to inform our families that this year we will use remote learning days if we call off school due to a snow day or cold-weather day. This means that students will continue to engage in learning on these days. This allows us to not use our emergency days at the end of the school calendar while continuing instructions smoothly during the school year. We will still officially call school off so students know that they don’t need to report to school, but please know that they will still be engaged in remote learning. You can expect more information from your teachers and/or building administrators.”
Now, I understand that we can’t just quit going to school. We started remote learning, because it wasn’t safe to be at school. But truly, I cannot see a reason to take away students’ snow days. It doesn’t hurt anyone to have one day off of school. The statement cites not having to use the emergency days in the school calendar. Those emergency days exist to be used in the case of a snow day, there’s no benefit to not using them. It’s not like the district gets a pizza party at the end of the year if they didn’t use any of the emergency days in the calendar.This decision to avoid using the emergency days really just seems like they’re doing just because they can, not out of any concern for the children. I understand that as a district administrator, your decisions are constantly being criticized by people that don’t know what they’re talking about, but the best interest of children should be at the heart of every decision.Taking away snow days is really only going to be creating stress for the students and teachers alike. Not only is suddenly having to transition from in-person to remote learning going to create stress for the students, but also the teachers. Imagine how difficult it is going to be for teachers to have to, on the spot, create a lesson plan for a remote learning day. It might be easier for some, but not for others. And it’s not fair for the administrators to ask them to have to plan so far in advance like this.
Children today have already lost so much: birthday parties, Halloween,Thanksgiving, and spending time with friends. I haven’t been able to see my best friend in almost two months. My sisters see their friends almost exclusively through FaceTime. Children have already lost so much this year—taking away snow days is the perfect example of “just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.” I can think of no better way to end my piece than by sharing the opinions of the very children that will be affected by this decision. To quote my younger sisters, Morgan
and Mackenzie Zimmerman, who are 7th graders at Trimpe Middle School, “Kids are sad. Let them have snow days.