Snow days have been a fixture in Lexington Public Schools for as long as anyone can remember. Fond memories of playing in the snow, building a snowman, or drinking hot chocolate exist in the minds of countless New Englanders. As innovation in education technology now enables snow days to be replaced by remote-learning days, the question must be asked: Should snow-days remain, or be replaced entirely with remote learning days? I would argue that snow days are not only necessary for student well-being, but that remote days would be logistically implausible to execute on days of heavy snow.
Students generally love an unexpected break from stressful schoolwork, as snow days offer them a rare day to simply relax or catch up on work.
“Online learning takes a lot out of students, and a break is better for student well-being and mental health,” Evan Eberle, a junior at Lexington High School, said.
Teachers, on the other hand, seem to appreciate the value in snow days for students, while also acknowledging the challenges that come with a missed class session.
“It’s something that students have been used to since they were really young and it provides a little bit of a break in the routine, so I actually think that there is benefit to actual snow days,” Jillian Singer-Wong, a performing arts teacher at LHS, said.
However, missing classes due to snow days also creates difficulties for teachers in planning lessons and assigning work.
“When there is a group project that students are working on or an assignment that is going on over multiple days, a snow day can absolutely throw off the timing of that.” Singer-Wong said.
Snow days offer a much-needed break from strenuous workloads. Lexington is notorious for having an intense academic culture that often pushes students to their limits. Sacrificing snow days in favor of remote days would only increase the stress-load that students must bear. It must also be acknowledged that power outages may leave certain towns across the state without internet access. For every remote day in heavy snow, numerous teachers would be unable to teach their classes and a significant number of students would not have stable internet connections due to power outages.
On days of light snow, however, remote days could be reasonable. It is true that the current system, which gives the LPS administration until 12 p.m. during the day before a storm to decide whether the next day will be remote, does offer a happy medium for both students and teachers. On the one hand, students can still expect to have several true snow days per year, offering them a break from the heavy workload that is placed on Lexington students. The traditions of making snowmen, having snowball fights, and drinking hot cocoa can still prevail. On the other hand, days of light snow can be used as instructional days to ease the burden placed on teachers in setting deadlines for work. In this respect, teachers are able to better meet the demands of both the Lexington common core curriculum and the Advanced Placement curriculums.
The only change that I would advocate for is an automatic call for a true snow day if snow accumulation is expected to exceed eight inches. This amount of snow can be expected to cause power outages, making it difficult to offer remote school to all students and teachers. As a result, it does not make sense to leave the choice to the administration, since not all teachers nor students will be able to attend class.
Although it may seem logical to shift snow days to regular online schooling days, the arising logistical complications and the perspectives of students both oppose this transition. All things considered, the current system does a reasonably adequate job of addressing these concerns. It must, however, be recognized that there are certain conditions under which remote school is simply not possible. Hard-set rules must thus be implemented to recognize these circumstances and keep traditional snow days alive.