The joy of a snow day is truly unique. Anticipating the news of school being cancelled, followed by waking up to a blanket of white snow covering everything outside your window, is one of highlights of going to school in New England. While snow days may be unpredictable events, not intentionally built into our school calendar, they’re also an opportunity to make memories cherished by many. In the words of Lucy Stefani ‘21: “Waking up to a snowy day and realizing that school has been cancelled is maybe one of the greatest joys of being a kid.” But now, as Zoom has become our “normal” and remote learning is accessible, these meaningful events are being taken away from us.
At the end of December, Montrose had its first snow day of the school year. And while the white snowflakes falling from the sky remained the same as usual, the way snow days work did not. Students were informed of the change via email. The normal “school will be cancelled tomorrow due to weather conditions” was followed up with the words “and classes will be held remotely.” Needless to say, most students were not excited to have to jump on Zoom at 8:30 AM the next day. Lucy Bachiochi ‘23 said: “It is such a pity that we will no longer have snow days because it gives us a good rest from the craziness of school.” Anna Hvidsten ‘23 agreed: “Although saying ‘I have class’ is a nice way to get out of shoveling with the fam, I like the way snow days used to be! I loved waking up late, having snowball fights, seeing all the neighbors shoveling at the same time, and hot chocolate to warm up afterwards! I think the unpredictability of snow days makes them the perfect, unexpected break from the monotony that can come in the winter-month-slump.”
A lot of Montrosians aren’t exactly excited about spending their snow days on Zoom calls. We are in Covid times, and these times pose other challenges and many changes as well, so the normalcy of snow days and the every-once-in-a-while breaks we are given may not have been the best thing to take away. This brings us to the question: snow days haven’t held us back in the past, so why would we need to have Zoom classes during the snow days this year? Ms Smith provided us with a clear answer: “Because instructional time has been reduced so much already with the pandemic and block scheduling, extra days here and there really begin to snowball.” The pandemic itself has eaten up hours of time due to all the precautions we have to take each day. Ms Smith also made sure to mention that if she could change anything, she would make it mandatory for all students to go out and play in the snow! Lucy Stefani ‘21 also said: “We are now in a position where we can control the amount of snow days we have. If we get to a point where there has been far too many snow days in one year, we can always rely on Zoom to keep us on track.” The sadness that the new virtual snow day policy brings is very real among students, but even some sixth graders aim to recognize the good things can come out of it. Annabella Kelly ‘27 explained that there are likes and dislikes to Zoom classes: “I don’t like it, of course, because I like to go play in the snow, and relax on snow days.” Even though we’d much rather have our old snow days back, as Annabella revealed, classes on Zoom really aren’t too bad. She added that she likes snow day Zoom classes in some ways because it lifts the weight off of work in the coming days. “When we get back to school, we have less work to do because we did the work on our snow day. Over all, it isn’t that bad. I prefer class in real life, but virtual classes can benefit, too.”
The benefits of virtual classes truly shine through in our amazing teachers. On the first day of February, we were surprised with another snow day. However, our excitement soon dwindled as we realized we’d have to be on Zoom for the majority of the day. Although most of us were still disappointed with this new change, a lot of our teachers tried their best to make the most of it. As Dean of Students Mrs. Derendorf said: “Some teachers balance instructional time over Zoom with independent work and some choose not to Zoom at all. However a teacher chooses to handle her remote classes, she always keeps her students’ well-being in mind.” Our teachers really did keep our well-being in mind, some even ending class early to let us read independently and take a break from our screens. However, many teachers’ opinions fell directly in line with the students’. When asked about how she felt about the Zoom classes, Ms Lechner said: “It’s so disappointing to not get the joy of a snow day.” To make up for this loss, in the sophomore French class, Ms Lechner incorporated Kahoots into our lesson on past tenses, making our morning on Zoom so much more enjoyable!
Overall, viewpoints on virtual snow days differ among both students and teachers. Some students are able to recognize the schedule benefits of having Zoom classes on snow days. Although we may all still be disappointed that one of the biggest joys of our childhood winters is gone, it’s important to remember that we are lucky to have the means necessary to continue learning in a time like this. As Mrs. Derendorf also pointed out: “We are very fortunate to have the ability to hold classes on snow days, but especially now in the time of Covid. Teachers have worked extremely hard to deliver the robust curriculum their students deserve, despite the challenges Covid has presented, by using some of these what would have otherwise been lost school days for remote learning has been a real blessing.” Montrose girls know and acknowledge the hard work our school does to look out for our best interest. As part of the student body, we urge administration to keep the childhood joys of snow days in mind and question if replacing it with real classes is the favourable thing to do. After all, our time as kids is coming to an end, and within the next few years we will all be adults. Was taking away one of our most memorable childhood experiences really worth it? In the end, despite our conflicting views on Zoom classes on snow days, we are a very resilient student body, one who knows how to make the best out of any situation, and we’ll surely do the same no matter how much we dislike this new policy. Who knows, maybe one day we’ll get our snow days back!
Chaitanya Arora ‘23 & Scarlett Testa ‘23, Contributing Writers
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