The story behind snow days

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The story behind snow days

Snow and ice cover the plaza outside the Arcade and the football field. Several times already this year, students and faculty have had to walk through these conditions to enter the school.

Snow and ice cover the plaza outside the Arcade and the football field. Several times already this year, students and faculty have had to walk through these conditions to enter the school.

Heaven Onley

Snow and ice cover the plaza outside the Arcade and the football field. Several times already this year, students and faculty have had to walk through these conditions to enter the school.

Heaven Onley

Heaven Onley

Snow and ice cover the plaza outside the Arcade and the football field. Several times already this year, students and faculty have had to walk through these conditions to enter the school.

Nearly every morning after a snowstorm the previous evening, students anticipate a day off from school. It seems harmless, but those days can add up, and students can miss hours of learning that are important for a successful year.

In snowy climates, school superintendents must frequently decide whether an incoming storm warrants closing schools for the day. Concerns about student and teacher safety must be weighed against loss of time in the classroom, along with state requirements for days of teaching and the potential cost and inconvenience of shortening summer break or making up missed time in other ways. Based on evidence from Time Magazine, school hours lost to snow days equal lost student learning.

The decision of a possible snow day starts with talks among administrators the day or night of an incoming storm. Then they consult local emergency management agencies like the Hamilton County Emergency Management Agency. The final call in the school districts is from the superintendent. They normally take into account how heavy the snow is or if the cold temperatures could lead to ice. It could cause power outages, making transportation more difficult or making the school facilities difficult to open.

In Cincinnati, while it does not snow a significant amount, days off can still hold the community back. High school is very fast-paced and it’s easy to get behind.

So what can we do? Some schools have implemented a system where students can do school work at home. This work can even be downloaded beforehand just in case the WiFi being cut off is a problem. It can be seen as going a bit far, but it does help the students avoid missing information critical for their success in high school.

One way the dynamic between snow days and learning time could be fixed is to plan a way where teachers could add some extra things to the lesson plan the day before a snowstorm, just in case the next day there is no school. This would allow students to get the essence of what new information they will learn. That way students and teachers won’t feel too much pressure to work on their day off.