Editorial: No more snow days :(

Posted 12/17/20

Cursed 2020 has taken so much already (freedoms, joy, travel, livelihoods, not to mention precious lives) … did it need to take away the beloved snow day, too?

When Rhode Island acted …

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Editorial: No more snow days :(

Posted

Cursed 2020 has taken so much already (freedoms, joy, travel, livelihoods, not to mention precious lives) … did it need to take away the beloved snow day, too?

When Rhode Island acted swiftly to become a national leader in distance education last spring, it made numerous little discoveries along the way — kids can learn from home, teachers can teach through a laptop (sort of … well, some can), and classrooms are within the mind, not always within the building.

It also discovered there is no need to take a day off.

Sometime last spring, school districts came to the realization that every day can be a school day for the students. They can work from home on teacher professional development days. They can work from home when it snows. They can work from home even when there is no electricity.

Like concerts, movie theaters and waiting at the bar for a table, snow days were suddenly gone, perhaps never to return.

At the time, it seemed like a novel concept. Take away the snow days and the school year can end on time, without pushing classes into late June’s heat and humidity.

And then came the first snowstorm of the winter — not a small dusting, of course, a massive storm with high winds and heavy accumulation — and reality set in.

If being honest, everyone involved in education should admit that the past 10 months have been exhausting and somewhat unfulfilling. It feels like everyone, including teachers, students and administrators, is working twice as hard for about half the return. Despite their best efforts, this period in education is a shell of what it should be, and it’s wrapped in an environment of stress and anxiety. Distance learning is nowhere near as valuable or effective as “the real thing,” and a generation of students is losing everything from knowledge and foundational skills, to friendships and social skills.

Yet thanks to 2020, when the flakes start flying, school districts can now opt to keep everyone home, invoke distance learning, and check off another day toward their 180-day requirement. (Most unfair are the models where the students work on pre-assigned materials, while the teachers are offline and not working.)

The reality in this third week of December, in the year most would like to forget, is that a snow day would be most welcome. Everyone can remember the magic of waking up, lifting up the shades, seeing a landscape of pure white and thinking … Snow day!

Except 2020 has other plans. In 2020, there are no snow days. In 2020, the kids can keep the boots in the closet. In 2020, the kids have to wake up and log on.

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Mike Rego has worked at East Bay Newspapers since 2001, helping the company launch The Westport Shorelines. He soon after became a Sports Editor, spending the next 10-plus years in that role before taking over as editor of The East Providence Post in February of 2012. To contact Mike about The Post or to submit information, suggest story ideas or photo opportunities, etc. in East Providence, email mrego@eastbaymediagroup.com.