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Are snow days about to get buried by remote learning?

Posted Date: 02/15/2023

Are snow days about to get buried by remote learning?

Snow days, a nostalgic rite of passage for generations of students across the northern United States, might seem destined to be a memory of school days past. For nearly a century, schools have canceled or delayed classes because of heavy or dangerous snowfall that creates hazardous travel conditions. School calendars would include a number of “makeup” days, when any missed time could be rescheduled.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, schools transitioned to remote learning to keep teaching when it wasn’t safe for people to gather. With students already learning at home, nearly 40% of schools chose to forgo traditional snow days and proceed with remote learning during the pandemic. Those choices, and improvements in online education, led several commentators to predict the end of the snow day.

However, policy data collected from the 35 states with the highest average annual snowfall suggests that while more schools are using remote learning days instead of canceling classes, the traditional snow day is far from extinct.

Snow days seem to be sticking around, thanks to nostalgia, lingering concerns about the effectiveness and accessibility of online learning and a sentiment that families and children need these unscripted, unplugged breaks.