Snow days should be balanced between work and play

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Snow days are here to stay although teachers should provide only essential work to make sure students stay on track

Max Belyantsev, Opinion Writer

You wake up to the sound of your blaring alarm, and groggily open your eyes peering out into the darkness to see snowflakes slowly descending from the skies. There is at least six inches of snow on the ground, and you quickly check your phone to see “Due to inclement weather…” You fall back into your bed, satisfied with a few more hours of blissful sleep and a day playing in the snow. 

In upcoming years, however, Montgomery County students may no longer get to experience the excitement of a break from instruction due to inclement weather. Recent virtual methods of teaching, first pioneered by the county during the uproar of COVID-19 in 2020, can be implemented. However, such a decision will likely lead to unnecessary hardships for students and MCPS alike.

As global temperatures increase and our region sees decreased snowfall, snow days are increasingly rare. MCPS conducted an entirely virtual Zoom school year due to COVID-19, meaning that virtual instruction is possible. However, students would gain less from the extra instructional day than they would from a virtual “Rocket Refresh” day. Some kids may refuse to attend Zoom meetings and sleep in or watch Netflix. Others may find it difficult to concentrate given their circumstances at home.

According to The Atlantic, a lack of snow days could impact younger kids as it is a loss of a source of joy and many parents welcome the short break. Most parents certainly do not want to have to once again go through the trouble of helping their kids set up a Zoom class.

 A majority of students would greatly benefit from a breather given the heavy workloads they must face each week. Simply put, kids need time to be kids. “It would ruin all the fun of snow days. And I think it would also be not so great for the teachers themselves,” sophomore Raj Bhansali said. “I remember having a great time and playing with other people during my snow days. It was a crucial part of snow days to go outside and play in the snow.”

For teachers, however, the story changes. “If I have a class that is getting ready for an AP exam, I know the routine and the practice that they need to get ready. So, if I take an unplanned break from instruction, that just means that I have to fit that in somewhere else,” math teacher Laura Goetz said. “I have…sent out an instructional video on a snow day…[and] …take some time [to do it] because you’re not going to play in the snow all day.” All in all, students taking rigorous classes might find themselves with some work to do on snow days, perhaps for the better.

In the case of a snow day, having optional Zoom sessions alongside only the most critical lessons may prove to be the best solution. Students that have an upcoming exam can get the preparation they need. If students need assistance from teachers or counselors, they can reach out and get help while the ones that do not can relax, get some much-needed rest, and otherwise enjoy their day off.