Don’t Cancel Our Snow Days

Could virtual learning mean the end of snow days as we know them?

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MacKenzie Hyde

Scenes like this might be replaced with scenes of students working inside on their laptops during snowy winter weather days.

Is there anyone who doesn’t remember turning on on the TV as a big winter storm approaches, watching as the list of school districts scrolls across the bottom of the screen, waiting patiently for the “T”s to arrive, and finally getting that rush of excitement when “Tyrone Area School District – CLOSED” appeared on the screen?

“Yes!  A SNOW DAY!”

When the snow begins to cover the quiet streets of Tyrone, generations of Tyrone students have eagerly anticipated the magic of an unscheduled day off.

At least until today, that is.

Leave it to 2020 to crush yet another cherished tradition.

With a foot of snow forecasted for overnight, December 17th most likely would have been a snow day. However, with the remote learning already in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, today was just another school day for the students of Tyrone Area School District.

While nothing has been made official, today made us wonder, could remote learning make snow days obsolete? Did we enjoy our last snow day in 2019 and not even realize it?

We hope not.

Some area schools, such as Bishop Guilfoyle High School in Altoona, have already eliminated snow days, replacing them with remote-learning days several years ago.

Of course, there are upsides to eliminating snow days. No snow days mean that summer break always starts on time. No more losing vacation days or adding days to the end of the school calendar due to inclement weather.

But snow days provide a welcome break from the monotony of school during the short, dreary winter months and give kids of all ages a chance to get out and play.

Snow days are mental health days filled with excitement and cherished childhood memories like staying up late because you don’t have to get up for school, and sleeping in knowing the crisp snow is waiting.

Snowmen, sledding, and snowball fights, capped off with a steaming hot cup of hot chocolate are what snow days are all about.

So while we understand the benefits of keeping students on track and having a reliable school calendar, we think that loss of childhood memories far outweighs the benefits of turning snow days into work-at-home remote learning days.

Many students and teachers are tired, frustrated, and exhausted. Under the circumstances, it probably didn’t make sense to cancel school since students were already working from home. But hopefully, when this is all over, Tyrone won’t let remote learning destroy the magic of a snow day.