A Bad Idea whose time has not come
What goes around comes around and the same can be said for a really bad idea. Several school districts in Maryland are talking about doing virtual instruction on some snow days. That is a bad idea on so many levels.
First and foremost, in Maryland the call to close schools for snow usually comes around 5 a.m. on the day of the closing. Weather forecasts are so unreliable that school districts cannot count on the accumulations being predicted until the snow actually begins to fall.
Doing virtual school instead of closing will require districts to make the call the night before so that teachers can prepare and families can make child care preparation. Given the vagaries of the forecasts in these parts, that is going to mean a few days going virtual for snow that never falls. If school systems wait until the morning of the event, there is going to be a lot of scrambling by teachers to prepare and a lot of Chromebooks to get out the door.
Districts are also complaining about the very large number of teachers who have retired or just are getting out of the profession. So it seems pretty counter-productive to drop perks of the job when teachers are seeing fewer and fewer of them. There are few things more delightful about teaching than waking up to a snow day closing where you can have fun with your kids or do one of those chores that have been reserved for snow days.
And then there are the kids. We always think about them last. We already know that during the pandemic lots of kids did not tune in to virtual teaching on a regular basis. A snow day is an entitlement of winter. It’s going to be very tough to get students to pay attention to a snow day lesson that you know is going to be a lesson that is kept in storage to be pulled out in an emergency and is probably boring and all review. Sort of like what teachers leave in their desk drawers for last minute substitutes to use.
Snow days are one of the gifts of winter. School districts should not pull the plug on them. Once the winter holidays are over, and we move into those short bleak gray days, surely we should not be deprived of a few scattered days of happiness here and there.
Virtual days instead of snow days!!! Scrooge needs to be visited by another ghost.