The Snow Day Debate


Photo/Allie Peters

Feb. 20, 2021, State College, Pennsylvania, was hit with over six inches of snow at the beginning of February.

Allie Peters, Staff Writer

On Tuesday, Feb. 16, a letter was sent out explaining the new snow cancelation protocol. In this letter addressed to parents and guardians in the SCASD community, Superintendent Bob O’Donnell announced that snow days will now be turned into remote schooling days. This was a difference from the original plans laid out for the school year. At first, snow days were still going to happen if in-person schooling was still open. This change of direction has sparked strong opinions from the SCASD community. 

Multiple reasons were brought up in the letter for the school district’s decision. This winter has been a very snowy and icy one, with multiple cancellations in February and January. While some students argue that snow days are a nice break, the snow days take away from summer break. 

In the letter, O’Donnell stated, “We believe at this stage that we’ve reached a tipping point. If we must use another snow day, we would have to continue the year into the week of June 7 after graduation weekend — an undesirable scenario from our standpoint. While we value in-person learning, the further we go into the summer, the less students will benefit from the days. We’re making this change because we feel that this is the best course of action, given how this week has gone and the year we’ve had so far.” 

While some people prefer a longer summer instead of more snow days, others disagree. Freshman Joshua Carlson is a State High student who loves to ski and spend time outside in the winter. 

“I prefer having a day in the snow to a day in the heat,” Carlson said. “A lot of the activities I enjoy require there to be snow on the ground, and I know that in Central PA, there’s only a limited time period when there’s enough snow. Because of this, I would rather make use of the snow days while I can.” 

Snow days are especially desirable for most students now that there is no spring break and that everything feels isolated.

Although snow days are fun for many, they also interfere with some teachers and students. The cancellation of school negatively affects the class schedule, forcing teachers to adapt, shorten, and change their curriculum. For AP classes, which have a strict test data that cannot be pushed back, the snow days equate to students missing valuable time to prepare for the test. 

Freshman Violet Doyle is currently taking AP Geography and thinks that remote learning days will have a positive effect on the class. 

“I hope and think that AP teachers will seem more relaxed because they don’t have to rush to fit all the work in since every remote learning day doesn’t take away work aimed at the certain deadline,” said Doyle. By changing snow days into remote days, both teachers and students will not have to waste any time worrying about making up the work in the curriculum.

There is also another solution that some students and teachers hoped the district would enforce: asynchronous workdays. When the school district went fully remote this school year, Wednesdays became independent workdays. This meant that teachers would assign work that would be completed in the student’s own time throughout the day, instead of logging onto Google Meets.

Freshman Autumn Banfield believes that asynchronous work would have been an ideal compromise. 

“In the past, asynchronous days have worked well for students and teachers including myself,” Doyle stated. “Asynchronous days would mean less screen time and more freedom and independence so I could play in the snow.” 

Multiple students from the State High also bring up the point that asynchronous work would still be remote and safe, and teachers wouldn’t have to worry about distraction and lack of effort.

There have been many sacrifices made within the past year. While it’s not easy to compromise on everyone’s different opinions and preferences, it would be impossible to please everyone. This school year has not been short on surprises, so it is as important as ever to understand how hard everyone is trying, and it is as important as ever to have empathy with the new snow day rule. Looking at the new snow day rule from different perspectives can help community members see its pros and cons.