So long to Snow Days: Could virtual learning change a winter tradition?

Weather Blog

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – For generations, snow days have meant sleeping in, sledding, and, most importantly, no classes. But some schools are preparing for that to change. 

“We are in the process of changing policy to try to make them virtual learning days. I think that will happen. I do feel badly for those kids who get so excited about snow days,” says Stephanie Cann, superintendent of the Granite City Community Unit School District #9. 

Covid-19 forced the transition to online learning and now they have the tools in place to keep lessons going when bad weather strikes. 

“Being able to have that continuity of learning through that remote virtual learning, I think this year that it’s very important that they stay on track with the virtual learning through snow days.” 

Redefining snow days as virtual learning days avoids delaying the end of the school year and helps make up days lost to the pandemic. But not all schools are taking this path.  JP Prezzavento, communication coordinator for Fox C6 schools, says they plan to keep snow days as snow days, without the expectation of virtual learning. And Parkway students, well they will split the difference. 

“Historically, in Parkway, every year we have a few days out of school. That can be for snow days or power outages, water main breaks. So, we have built in extra time for years,” says Parkway School District spokesperson Paul Tandy. 

He says the first three snow days would be virtual lesson free.  

“But if we have to go beyond that to four or more, because we have the virtual format, then we would switch to virtual and students would be learning from home with their teachers. And the benefit of that is that we don’t have to extend the school year.” 

Tandy admits to the magic and nostalgia of snow days and says they want to preserve that, but responsibly.  

“I’ve been doing this twenty years and I’m the one who makes the phone call and I love it because of the excitement. And everybody, every once in a while, needs a little mental health day.” 

While Granite City plans to continue lessons as the snow flies, they hope to at least incorporate wintry weather fun into the lessons. 

“I guess I’m the one that’s going to have to take the snow day away, but it will be fun. We’ll find ways,” says Cann. 

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