Snow Days in Hybrid Learning

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Hopefully they’ll stay constant in these times of change(Bleeping Computer)

We Seattleites haven’t seen much snow in our lives. The last couple of  years, however, have given us the winter wonderland we always dreamed of. How could we forget the “Snowmageddon” of 2019–nearly an entire week of snow days that came just before mid-winter break? But school life is different now, and while some of us may be on campus, the other half of us will be attending from the warm comfort of our homes on Zoom. Which leads me to wonder, what will happen if we get a big snowstorm while we are at home? It is a La Niña year after all. This means it is likely going to be wetter and colder than normal so a major snowstorm could be in our future.  

If a big storm blanketed the city, would we make the easy transition back to the robust remote learning plans we have from COVID-19?  Would we roll out of bed and go straight into our six hours of Zoom classes as we watch the snow pile up outside? These questions have circulated in my mind since the beginning of remote learning back in March, and my absolutely non-biased belief is that a snow day should be a snow day! If it snowed a lot in a non-COVID-19 world, we would stay home, have some asynchronous work to do, meet up with friends and go sledding. Snow in Seattle is such a miraculous thing; it literally brings the city to a standstill. We slow down and make space for some fun. 

However, it’s not just about fun. Traditional snow days were a stressbuster for the Lakeside community and can be equally beneficial during remote learning as well. Remote school has been challenging for many students and being able to slow down and recharge for a day or two would be very beneficial. What better reason is there to close out of Zoom, go outside and enjoy nature and the fresh air? Instead of returning to the confines of our bedrooms and the world of our computer screen, a snowfall gives us a chance to take a deep breath and relax.  

These ideas appear to be shared widely amongst Lakesiders. When we polled the student body, 95% believed we should not have Zoom classes on an initial snow day and the number only fell off slightly to 75% if the storm was a big one and called for multiple days. When asked to share their thoughts, we received many varied and emphatic answers.  My personal favorites were:  

  • “They’re sacred please don’t take that away from us.”
  •  “If we have multiple snow days but only get one or none off, I’m switching schools.”
  • “We deserve off days when something miraculous happens (snow)”
  • “Snow days are VITAL to adolescent development, and forcing minors to attend school when it is snowing reinforces toxic capitalist standards that can have detrimental effects on students’ creativity, work ethic, mental health, and communication skills.”
  •  “I want to throw snow around and pretend I’m Elsa.”
  • “If we wouldn’t be going to campus then I won’t be going to my computer. BYE.”
  • “It would be dangerous to travel to your computers sooo.”

Given the overwhelming response, we can assume that snow days are very important to students and we should adopt similar school closure policies for remote learning. The general sentiment in the poll results shows that students love the impromptu break from routine that a snow day provides and I hope that if it does snow, Lakeside can find a way for us to break away from class, slow down and enjoy the snow!