Awww. Snow days might be a thing of the past, thanks in part to the COVID pandemic
Snow days might be a thing of the past.
With an impending winter storm, which could deliver up to two feet of snow in some spots in central Pennsylvania this week, school districts will have to decide whether to close buildings for the inclement weather.
In the past, a snow day would have meant a day off to sled and build a snowman. Today, as districts have adapted to virtual learning because of the coronavirus pandemic, many students likely will be working on their computers while the flakes fall outside.
Many school districts closed Wednesday because of the impending storm, but some, including Central, Eastern , Red Lion, and West York, are having students work from home.
Dover Area School District's goal is to have students work virtually any time it has to close for snow, spokesman Bradley Perkins said.
"COVID-19 has forced us to be as flexible as possible with openings and closings, not just with snow related events," he wrote in an email. "Collectively as a district, our staff and students have been preparing for, and in a couple of cases have already had to face, closures then moving to online learning, so realistically, a weather related physical closing of a building or buildings is no different than having to close due to COVID-19."
Northeastern School District plans to have students work from home on snow days, but they will have an early dismissal so they don't miss out on playing in the snow, Supt. Stacey Sidle said during a recent school board meeting.
Sidle said that some of her happiest memories from childhood was when she had a snow day. The administrative team talked about whether they were taking too much away from the children and settled on an early dismissal.
"Everybody loves a snow day, but nobody loves it back in the spring when you have to do a make-up day," she said.
"We thought it was a win-win for everybody."
Some districts already are working virtually because of the pandemic. Northern York County and Gettysburg Area school districts closed their buildings on Wednesday and moved to online learning because of the number of cases. They expect to resume in-person classes in early January.
"Cyber snow days" are not new.
Gov. Tom Wolf signed a bill last year that allows school districts to use flexible instructional days if they have to close for inclement weather, emergencies or other reasons.
Some school districts opted in while others did not. Before the pandemic hit, some cited concerns about access to technology and unanswered questions, such as whether all of the education can be replicated in an online environment.
Several school districts in York County and others in the state had participated in a test pilot with "cyber snow days."