Editorial: Don't forget the joy of the snow day

Posted 2/15/24

School administrators should remember that it’s okay for kids to have good, old-fashioned fun.

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Editorial: Don't forget the joy of the snow day


Tuesday’s good, old-fashioned winter snowstorm induced a good, old-fashioned snow day for most students throughout this region, but not all. In just a handful of public school districts, including Bristol Warren Regional, administrators opted for a “distance learning” or “virtual learning” day, a phrase which should have been coined because students learn virtually nothing.

Remember back to the global pandemic, when distance learning days were a necessary evil. They served the purpose of keeping students mildly engaged in education while they were all banished from their actual school buildings, but they were not good for anyone.

Older students spent hours in their bedrooms, relentlessly distracted by their phones while loosely following their teachers’ instructions. Younger students struggled to extract lessons from the talking boxes on their Chromebook screens.

Teachers struggled to transfer lessons from the real world to the virtual world, often while distracted by their own children Zooming or goofing off just a few feet away.

Worst of all was special education, where the students who need to be with their teachers the most, were the most disconnected and isolated.
Distance learning was a poor replacement for the real thing, so why is it still the default setting for some of these school districts?

By treating Tuesday as a distance learning day, administrators get to tally Feb. 13 as one of their mandatory 180 school days. It brings everyone one day closer to summer vacation.

However, was it worth it? Instead of enjoying the good, old-fashioned magic of a snow day(!!!), thousands of students and teachers woke up and were forced to log on to their laptops for several hours of screen-watching.

It’s not like the region has been overwhelmed by snowstorms and the school calendar is under duress. In fact, with climate change, it seems like there will never be winters like yesteryear. These days, snow falls just a few times each winter and melts away within hours. Children barely have time to make snow forts or break out their sleds before everything turns into a mud patch.

A generation ago, snow days were one of the true joys of childhood, marked by puffy snow suits, frozen gloves, glorious snow angels and homemade hot chocolate. Snow days were fun.

School administrators should remember that it’s okay for kids to have good, old-fashioned fun. Fun can be an integral part of a quality education — Chromebooks not included.

2024 by East Bay Media Group

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Meet our staff
Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.