No more snow days? Coronavirus changes the idea of a day off from school

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Caption

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Among the many changes in schools caused by the coronavirus might some wintery day soon also include the fun for kids of the traditional snow day off.

Thousands of students awoke Monday morning to see about two inches of snow on the ground in Butler and southern Warren County.

Some area districts, including Lakota, Mason, Middletown and others, called for a two-hour delay to the start of school, impacting both in-person classes and those learning remotely at home due to altered schedules from the coronavirus threat.

If more snow than the about two-inch accumulation had fallen – closing down the school day - it wouldn’t have been the same sort of old-fashioned snow day off, say area school parents and officials.

Oliver Crabtree, 4, sleds down a hill Monday, February 1, 2021. at Sunset Park in Middletown. NICK GRAHAM  / STAFF
Caption
Oliver Crabtree, 4, sleds down a hill Monday, February 1, 2021. at Sunset Park in Middletown. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Forced by the coronavirus to address the “digital divide,” many more school families locally are now connected digitally to their children’s teachers than prior to the pandemic’s onset in March 2020.

That means schoolwork would still be accessible to students snowed in at home, unlike in the past where a student might not have physically brought home assignments.

ExploreNo more ‘snow days’: Why Ohio’s school schedules stopped tracking days lost to weather

During Monday’s two-hour delay, many students may have have begun their schoolwork online instead of sleeping in or being outside. Future snowy days might see some students stuck at home, spend the entire day doing schoolwork online.

That’s not an entirely a good thing said Middletown school parent Mandi Nicholas, who has five children in the city schools, and says the old-fashioned snow day break from all school work was a rare treat for kids.

“I like the 100 percent traditional snow day off because it keeps alive the magic of the snow day for kids,” said Nicholas.

“I do think it’s great for kids to be able to connect during snow days (digitally with school work) but if a snow day (full closure) happens, I’m going to let my kids play in the snow,” she said.

Despite this recent snowfall, which was forecasted to add a bit more to the ground Monday evening, the Butler County area is only about 60 to 70 percent of its total snow accumulation for this time of winter compared to past seasons, according to National Weather Service Meteorologist Kristen Cassady, from the Wilmington station.

About two inches of snow fell locally Sunday into Monday, raising the season total to 4-5 inches, where in past years we usually seen about 6-7 inches total by this time of winter, said Cassady.

Today will see an end to snow chances, some sunshine but colder temperatures with a high of only 30 degrees.

There’s a special history to snow day school cancelations, said Tracey Carson, spokeswoman for Mason Schools, that often includes fun family superstitions, like kids switching their pajamas and wearing them inside out in hopes of hearing school officials announce those three magic words: “No school today.”

“We actually are continuing snow days for online and in-person learners. The magic of a snow day is something we want all of our (students) to have the opportunity to experience,” said Carson.

“On the other hand, delays due to inclement weather like today, only apply to in-person learners. This makes lots of sense since our online learners are already at home, don’t need to drive or ride the bus, and don’t need their day disrupted and learning plan shortened due to road conditions.”