by Caroline Baldwin and Kaylee Baez
With record-breaking temperatures this winter, snow days have dominated many students’ thoughts. However, students who put on inside-out PJs in hopes of a day off frequently are not aware of the impact of snow days on the district
Calling a Snow Day
According to School Community Relations Coordinator Ms. Lorre Korecky, Superintendent Dr. Margaret Dolan works with the district’s maintenance department, the town and neighboring school districts when deciding upon snow days or delayed openings.
“My goal is to make the decision based on safety,” said Dolan. “I consider how much snow there is, when the snow is forecast to start and when it is forecast to end.”
She added that much preparation is needed to ready the school. “We are very fortunate that the maintenance workers and custodians are so committed to the schools…. When making a decision I have to determine that [they] will have enough time to finish their work.”
Last-minute calls for snow days can be problematic. Senior Julia Penczak said that when the district doesn’t call a snow day or waits until the last minute, “they forget to take into account that some teachers live an hour away…. They also don’t realize that it’s difficult for students to park in bad conditions, and for the kids who walk to school, it’s dangerous.”
Additionally, administrators must make decisions compatible with the district calendar, which allots only three snow days for the whole school year. According to the calendar, if a fourth snow day is needed, schools will open for one extra day in June. However, if the district does not use its remaining two snow days, school will be closed April 21 and May 23.
Teachers’ Lessons Affected
Snow days may grant a day off to students, but many teachers must spend time adjusting their lesson plans.
English Teacher Ms. Kim Gosen-Fowler said, “Snow days mean making adjustments to the schedule, collapsing lessons and/or expanding deadlines.”
Math Teacher Mr. Anthony Meyers, some teachers start later on days when it is snowing, rather than at the scheduled 7:30 a.m. start.
“Personally, I am more likely to be a little flexible with students being late to my first period class if it is snowing out,” Meyers added. “I have seen and been a part of the buildup of traffic in front of the school. If it is snowing, it just slows down the process because everyone is trying to be cautious.”
Many winter sports also find themselves struggling with the weather. Several students said that snow complicates regular practice schedules for winter track runners.
“You can’t run with a snow day,” said senior Dalton Herzog. “They make our practice schedule choppy, which messes up our training. If it’s icy or there is snow on the tracks we run on the street or inside the high school.”
The snow generally poses a hazard for outdoor sports, according to senior Erica Fischer, one of the girls winter track captains.
“The snow makes you watch your step all of the time,” she added. “If someone slips due to the ice, [she] could be out for the rest of the season.”
When students are waiting for a potential snow day call, BOE member Mr. Mitchell Slater said he tries to push social media usage to get the word out but also enjoys seeing students’ snarky Twitter comments when school stays open.
But according to sophomore Gab Cofone: “The attitude on Twitter is very mean. Students usually yell at the school officials through their tweets.”
Although students have more time to catch up on work during snow days, they can use this time to procrastinate.
Senior Sam Sokolin said, “Students don’t feel like it’s worth putting in the effort if you aren’t going to school the next day.”
Said senior Sean Tracey, “It is the same as doing homework on the weekend.”
However, some teachers said they do not believe it’s acceptable to avoid homework because of a snow day. “If an assignment is due, it should be completed and ready to be turned in on time,” said Meyers. “Hoping for a snow day is not an acceptable excuse for an incomplete assignment.”
Students said that instead of catching up on work, they take advantage of snow days to relax.
“I still treat snow days the same way I did in elementary school,” said senior Cynthia Faris. “I spend time with my friends and enjoy the day off.”
Said junior Meghan Summers, “What makes [snow days] amazing is how unexpected they usually are.”