The Comfort of Snow Days in this Uncomfortable Era


Connor Niszczak

A desolate Whites Road…the sign of a true snow day.

You hear the light tapping of a knock on your bedroom door. Your room and the outside world are blanketed in snow and pre-dawn darkness, but your spirits couldn’t be brighter. It’s like Christmas morning once again as your ears are blessed with a phrase idolized by children everywhere; “You can sleep in. You have a snow day!” 

A snow day!!! You are free to let everything you were supposed to have learned by today fall to the waysides, because today is now about anything you want it to be. Sledding? You got it. Snowball fights?? You’re going down. Sipping cocoa? I’ll take a gallon. Shoveling?…..I know, not as thrilling, but still a snow day essential.

Snow days are a core element of students’ lives in a Northeastern winter. We perk our ears every time snow is mentioned in the ten-day forecast, crossing our fingers we’ll get enough for schools to close. However, as we moved into winter, snow days became just another victim of COVID-19 related unpredictability. Since we are all learning at home, couldn’t we just do that instead of getting a traditional snow day?

To the delight of students (and, I’m sure, some teachers), North Penn announced on December 16, during our first snowstorm of the year, that all North Penn schools and offices would be closed on December 17th. COVID has taken so much from all of us over the last 11 months, but, at least for North Penn, the coveted snow day would not be one of them. It wasn’t clear if that was a gift to students, and if future 2020-2021 snowstorms would result in virtual or asynchronous learning, but, as I write this on February 1, our second snow day, it seems that North Penn will continue to live by the traditional snow day.

Students have been some of the hardest hit by this pandemic, so traditional snow days could not be embraced more. Every morning, whether we are opening up Canvas or making our way to first period, nothing could be further from normal. Especially as a senior, it feels like there are so many traditions that we “deserve” that we are missing out on this year; snow days are a tradition that every North Penn student should get to experience. I would never want current 1st or 2nd graders to go through all of their years in the district being forced to pay attention in class when all they can think about is running outside and jumping in the snow.

I’m sure there are frustrated parents out there, who feel like, with the mid-day break earlier this year, Friday early dismissals, and the seemingly more frequent half-days, that students just are not in school as much as they typically would be, but a couple of snow days are not going to hurt. We all need the mental break and replenishment that only a snow day and hot mug of cocoa can provide.

So, as the great Dean Martin famously sang…Let it Snow.