Blizzard learning

Covid-19. Corona. SARS-CoV-2, or whatever you want to call it- after the global
pandemic struck the world, a somewhat new source of learning was taken advantage of:
E-Learning. However, with more options available, and two years of repetitive online education,
an urgent and unexpected issue arose during the winter solstice. Snow. No, not snow itself, but
the thing that often follows. Snow days! Should the traditional snow day be replaced with online
instruction at the sacrifice of proper education?
After you know, many students, including myself, were stuck in e-learning. While
beneficial for some, I just wasn’t able to have the same experience of an in-person school day.
Upon learning that we were finally back to in-person, I was ecstatic until we got around to our
first ”snow day.” Usually, a day off would feel like a well-deserved break, but I quickly discovered
that I would have to do work. Ugh! Not only that, the schoolwork lacked substance and was
rushed! At least e-learning during Covid was planned out.
Speaking of being planned out, according to the National Center for Education Statistics,
the state of Illinois requires 185 days of instruction- five of which are designed and used for
teacher service days and emergency weather days. Of course, while online learning is better
during prolonged weather disasters, like a hurricane, considering we already have a working
system of snow days, why fix what isn’t broken?
Moreover, while e-learning is effective and time efficient on the surface, for the school,
e-learning produces quite the opposite effect on the students. In a zoom survey from 2020,
conducted by the American Dental Education Association, students and faculty were asked
about the perceived learning of students. The survey concluded that while 1 in 2 faculty believed
e-learning positively impacted students, 70% of students said otherwise. This report clearly
shows that while a large chunk of faculty perceives online learning as helpful, student opinions
Combine that lack of engagement with a weather emergency, and teachers have a lot on
their hands. The result is that students have to do hastily created busywork that often needs to
be retaught the next day- which defeats the point of having school work to “maximize” learning
time. Meanwhile, in the case of a regular snow day, teachers would have a whole day to plan
out their assignments and would be able to use the emergency day to make sure the topics get
reconfigured. Either way, the missed day will be made up in one way or another, and it just
comes down to getting the day off or not. Quality over quantity, yeah?
While online learning has shaped students’ lives in recent years, nothing can replace the
joy of waking up to find out that you have no school. In addition, school days mustn’t be just
busywork, but instead educational. By replacing snow days with online learning, schools aren’t
being efficient; they are just robbing kids of a small break! What’s the hurry? There is none.