It seemed the weather folks on “Action News” would spend days — an eternity — discussing a impending storm. Would it end up a mere dusting, or would the weather gods grant us the ingredients for a real whopper?
When a storm was finally due to arrive in the Delaware Valley, I’d wait up anxiously anticipating the first flakes before bedtime and nervously peer around the curtain the next morning in hope of seeing the world blanketed in white.
If I got my wish, I’d tune in to “The Voice of Chester County,” WCOJ. Would the dulcet tones of the legendary Art Douglas announce Twin Valley School District was closed for the day? Please, not one of those pointless one- or two-hour delays! Give us a snow day!
Snow days meant bonus time with friends. Sledding, playing football in the snow, pelting each other with snowballs and building snow forts for protection. When all was said and done, we’d warm up inside with hot chocolate and great daytime television — reruns of Gilligan’s Island and Hogan’s Heroes. If I think back hard enough, I can remember how it felt in my bones, and believe me, it felt good.
Sadly, just like those wonderful memories, the snow day is likely a thing of the past — chalk up another victim to COVID-19.
While many districts have had their hands full this fall and haven’t yet given much formal thought to the idea, it seems almost an inevitability. With the scale of technology and teaching techniques being applied to remote learning during the pandemic, why wouldn’t school districts take advantage of that experience in the future to avoid the impact Mother Nature has on the school year?
After all, how hard would it be for teachers to have a lesson plan in their back pocket to fall back on in case of inclement weather?
Obviously, not missing several days of school for weather events has its advantages on paper. Woncderful as that free day off might hve been, no gift went unpunished. Snow days came at the expense of spring break or were tacked on at the end of the year. Still, particularly during those cold, endless post-holiday weeks when it seemed we’d never get a break again, one of those impromptu days off was just what the doctor ordered. Tests, quizzes, and homework became tomorrow problems.
I can’t imagine teachers and staff didn’t feel a little of that same giddiness, even if it might create headaches down the road.
The idea of an end to snow days wasn’t something I really considered until perusing recent headlines on the subject, though I, myself, haven’t had a snow day in recent memory. Despite hurricanes, a derecho, and even a dumping of a couple of feet of snow a few years ago, I have been able to work remotely through the wonders of technology fornearly a decade, even in West Virginia, where the snow removal policy is basically, “It’ll melt.”
In fact, just this spring, while many adults used their COVID downtime to read, binge television series and teach themselves the piano, for this self-employed freelancer/contractor it was just another workday.
But that should be an adult problem. I know change is inevitable, but I feel sorry that tomorrow’s kids will miss out on the simple joy of the snowday. That seems unfair — yet another piece of youthful innocence lost.
Just think, someday you can tell the youngin’s, “When I was your age, I didn’t walk 10 miles uphill in a snowstorm to get to school. I didn’t walk over to my computer, either. I played in the snow! And I liked it!”