New York City is bracing for a winter storm on Wednesday and Thursday, but Mayor Bill de Blasio has a message for public school kids and parents: They’ll be online learning remotely as the snow comes down, “whether they are happy about it or not.”
And the Big Apple isn’t the only place where snow days are taking a hit. Nearly 40% of school principals in a recent survey said they were converting snow days to remote learning days, and more than 30% of school districts said they were considering the change. There’s some talk of these changes lasting beyond the pandemic, with de Blasio calling snow days a “thing of the past” and other districts suggesting they’re going to opt for remote learning on snowy days indefinitely. Nixing snow days means students don’t miss out on learning, which may be particularly important during this “lost academic year.”
But snow days, while a logistical pain in the butt for many parents, are a cherished part of childhood — full of snowmen, sledding, hot chocolate, and cold, happy kiddos. And, many argue, the pandemic has already taken so much from children, in ways big and small.
So HuffPost Parents asked our community for its thoughts on snow days being eliminated during COVID-19 — and possibly beyond — and they had a lot to say.
The primary message: Leave our snow days alone!
More than 350 parents — and counting — weighed in on our question, and based on our highly scientific method of scrolling through the comments, the vast majority of moms and dads are totally anti killing snow days. Kids are fried. Teachers are fried. Everyone needs a release.
“As a teacher [and] parent, I am against it,” said HuffPost Parents reader Christine. “We’ve been working beyond the scheduled school hours, sometimes seven days a week. A snow day is a needed break, for all of us. The burnout is REAL.”
“It’s just another childhood joy taken away,” said reader Meredith. “Give the kids a day off for goodness sake!” She was one of many parents who emphasized that kids need snow days this year more than ever.
“Kids deserve the mental break of snow days!” said HuffPost Parents reader Christy. “They are a bit of normalcy in an otherwise abnormal school year.”
“This is an awful decision,” echoed reader Nicole. “The kids have already sacrificed enough — let them have their childhood.”
Utah-based mom Jessica doesn’t get many snow days in her area since it comes down basically all winter long, but as an educator and parent she knows how crucial those days off can be for morale. “In these times of COVID, we should take whatever morale boosts we can get!”
But plenty of parents are good with kids signing online — especially if it means more summer vacation.
“Makes sense,” said reader Scott of some districts’ decisions to have kids sign on for the day. “Why extend the school year further into June?”
“I would rather have distance learning on snow days and get out of school earlier or start later in the year,” agreed reader Taylor. (School districts generally have a built-in number of snow or bad weather days, but too many missed days means they have to find other ways to make class time up.)
Other parents said they were totally fine with having their kiddos sign on for the day because they’re eager for any bit of school their children can get in this surreal academic year.
“We’ve lost so much educationally this year that we should utilize the technology keeping us going through lockdowns!” said HuffPost Parents reader Lynnette.
Then there were a lot of parents who said they really don’t mind losing a snow day or two this year, because they think it’s probably temporary: “It’s not ‘the end’ of snow days forever,” said reader RoseAnn. “It’s just for this winter.”
But again, that’s not necessarily true: school districts across the country have already indicated that they’re planning to cancel snow days beyond this year now that remote learning is so prevalent.
Some parents are very skeptical their kids will get anything done.
Getting kids to focus during remote learning is enough of a challenge already; many parents said that trying to get their kiddos to sit still in front of a computer while it’s snowing outside will be … absurd.
“There is no way my 6-year-old will focus for virtual school if there’s snow on the ground,” said HuffPost Parents reader Beth, whose school district in Oregon has made the same decision as New York City.
So a lot of parents are going rogue.
“I hope all parents revolt and keep their children off their remote learning platform so that their children can have a break,” said HuffPost Parents reader Christine. “Goodness, just because it can be done doesn’t mean it should.”
And a whole lot parents said they were going that route, no matter what their kiddos’ schools say.
“My kid is taking her own personal snow day,” said reader Sandra. “The work and the class is online, she’ll make it up tonight. She’s in kindergarten and understands that responsibility and fun go hand in hand.”
“I’m a mom and an instructional coach in the same school district my son attends. At the end of the day, whether or not the school system says ‘no snow days,’ I ultimately make the call because as his parent, I’m the one responsible for his mental health needs,” echoed reader Carol.
Or as HuffPost Parents reader Courtney put it: “School is in my house now. I’m the superintendent of my house. I decide snow days now.”