Are snow days a thing of the past?


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With recent virtual days, students wonder if snow days are no more.

Macey Thaxton, Staff Writer

When the COVID-19 pandemic spread over the globe in the spring of 2020, schools scrambled for a way to continue teaching as normal. At the time, universities were allowing some students to study remotely, and K-12 public schools decided “virtual schooling” would be their best bet to continue student education. 

Nearly three years after the start of the pandemic, virtual days are becoming more common in place of snow days. In the past few weeks, Edmond Public Schools (EPS) called several remote learning days due to snowfall and icy roads, so what constitutes a snow day versus a remote learning day?

“[Closing in-person school] is mostly about road conditions and the ability to get students to school safely and then home again,” EPS Superintendent Angela Grunewald said. 

Although the switch to virtual days seems permanent, snow days will remain an option in case of power outages in parts of Edmond due to weather. For instance, on Feb. 2, EPS called a non-instructional day without in-person or virtual schooling due to freezing rain and ice overnight. 

“Having the flexibility to do what is best for our families offers more support instead of having to do a snow day or a virtual day all the time,” Edmond Memorial High School (EMHS) Principal Brandi Wheeler said.

According to a survey put out by EPS last year, the majority of parents and teachers preferred remote learning days to adding make-up snow days at the end of the school year. In previous years, there were typically eight snow days built into the calendar. EPS built this year’s school calendar around that input, with no snow days built into the calendar. 

“It was clear that most felt moving to remote and keeping some learning going was better than adding days in May, which is after testing and has very little educational value,” Grunewald said.

There is a week set aside in the EPS calendar after school ends [but before Memorial Day that can be used to make up snow days if needed]. The upside of having virtual days instead of snow days is that students won’t have to make up those snow days in the future. Virtual schooling is also safer for staff and students because they don’t have to worry about leaving the house under dangerous conditions.

“On virtual days some students don’t do their work, technology doesn’t work right or people don’t have internet access from home,” EMHS Junior Lauren Dage said.

Remote days may also be difficult for parents that work from home to manage while trying to keep up with their own work and their child. Future students will almost never have the joy of snow days either.

“I have to make a decision that affects thousands of people without solid data,” Grunewald said. “Safety is our number one concern, but we cannot just close because of potential weather.” 

It’s difficult for EPS to make a “correct” decision about a virtual or in-person day when the weather is coming in overnight or in the morning. It’s looking like snow days will become more scarce, with virtual days in their place. However, it seems that snow days will remain a last resort for the time being. 

Contact Macey Thaxton at [email protected]