Growing up in Connecticut, kids have always associated winter with snow days. A surprise reprieve from school, filled with sledding and other frozen fun. So, normally in weeks like this, children around the state would be getting excited.
But this is not a normal year. With some school districts replacing snow days with remote learning, that excitement has been tempered.
When it comes to inclement weather, school districts now have a choice. They can decide between remote learning or use a traditional “snow day.” Waterbury is one of several districts that has decided to continue distance learning.
“With the pandemic and the opportunities that our students and staff have now with virtual learning, we decided not to discredit an opportunity for a day of learning,” said Waterbury Superintendent of Schools Dr. Verna Ruffin.
Waterbury says the only exception to its inclement weather policy will be if there’s a widespread power outage preventing students from logging on. Otherwise it’s business as usual, including its to-go food service operation which will continue.
Currently, all Waterbury Public School students are learning virtually until mid-January. As long as that’s the case some people are OK with it.
“Being at home, you don’t need a snow day,” said Tannie Berger.
Berger has seven grandchildren in the Waterbury school system and says none have complained, not even her 14-year-old granddaughter.
“The only thing she didn’t like was the fact that on a snow day she still has to do schoolwork,” said Berger.
Some districts have reserved at least a couple snow days. In Cheshire, two snow days have been reserved (if needed) before going remote.
“I know kids, it doesn’t matter how old you are, when there’s a snow day it’s kind of a special day,” said Cheshire Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jeff Solan.
In Cheshire and other districts observing traditional snow days, students will not be expected to participate remotely that day, but the day will be added onto the end of the year. According to the State’s Department of Education, 180 days are required.
“I think it would be great if they can (learn remotely) because then the end of the year is the end of the year,” said Kristin Kurtz, a mother with children in the Cheshire system.
But, the question remains, are snow days coming to an end?
“I hope not,” said Solan. “You know I think the kid in me would still want to have a snow day but I can certainly see it being more limited.”