The Student News Site of Richard Montgomery High School

The Tide

The Student News Site of Richard Montgomery High School

The Tide

The Student News Site of Richard Montgomery High School

The Tide


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Virtual snow days take away memories

Angelina Guhl
As the 2020-2021 school year has entailed fully virtual instruction thus far, changes to the county’s inclement weather policies have been made.

Every student has snow day memories, from sledding to hot chocolate to sleeping in. Snow days are beloved traditions to students, serving as a much-needed break from everyday academic stresses. However, in our high-tech post-COVID world, these calming and serene days may be taken from students.

Montgomery County has come up with a new policy for snow days for the 2023-2024 school year. After two excused snow days have been used, Montgomery County can initiate a “Code Purple” day, which entails virtual learning and all the old haunts of the 2020-2021 school year. Code Purple days must be predictable, part of a multi-day scenario and be communicated about the prior day. For these reasons, it is unlikely a Code Purple day will occur but these days are still a worry to students.

Recently, New York attempted a virtual learning day. Many technological issues occurred and parents were not pleased. Eric Adams, mayor of New York City, defended this program, and said he wasn’t a “Grinch” and wanted students to have fun after school. The NYC public school district is huge, with nearly a million students in about 1800 schools. If they could not figure it out without technical difficulties and delays, why would a much smaller Montgomery County be able to? Delays are even more likely when extreme weather conditions threaten power lines. “[I]f there’s a snow day, the odds of people losing Internet, and therefore Wi-Fi are a lot higher because of the snow,” sophomore Sarah Minicozzi said. Virtual snow days are hard to coordinate and annoying for parents in addition to students.

Additionally, not all students will have access to the technology needed for a Code Purple day. During the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Montgomery County had to distribute more than 50,000 Chromebooks to students who needed them. “Middle schoolers aren’t necessarily getting Chromebooks taken home so they might not have access to it in the same way,” Minicozzi said. In a day, it would be a near-impossible feat to give all students in need Chromebooks. 

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Virtual learning days are hard for students. Many students already don’t pay attention in classes where teachers can fully see them. They are so much more likely to when all teachers can see is a head in a box. “This implies that the teachers already have a plan ready for a snow day that they’re continuously updating,” sophomore Binhui Jiang said. The concept of a virtual day is so inherently frustrating and obnoxious for teachers to have to coordinate.

Private schools in the area have some different approaches to snow days. Some, like Georgetown Day School in DC, are following Montgomery County’s example. However, the McLean School’s policy allows for normal snow days, unless those snow days are subsequent. Subsequent snow days become asynchronous school days under their policy. It is important to note that McLean School students have individual devices they can take home, so it is much easier for that sort of school to implement such a plan.

There are many different ways to have an asynchronous snow day. That doesn’t mean we should have one. It is not fair to strip away childlike wonderment and joy from our students. Snow days are important for a reason. Let students have them. 


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About the Contributor
Angelina Guhl
Angelina Guhl, Features Writer, Graphics Artist
Angelina Guhl is a junior at Richard Montgomery and this is her third year with the Tide. She is a graphics artist as well as a Features writer. In her free time, Angelina likes to play instruments and sing, draw, and create things. She enjoys spending time with her friends and family and hopes to bring joy to the people around her.