The Silent Covid Casualty — The Snow Day

We knew it was coming. We didn’t speak of it, but it was lingering, waiting to be said. Waiting to be acknowledged. Waiting for the official announcement.  “In the case of inclement weather, all students and staff will be remote only.“ The email from the district landed in my Inbox with a thud and the […]

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

We knew it was coming. We didn’t speak of it, but it was lingering, waiting to be said. Waiting to be acknowledged. Waiting for the official announcement. 

In the case of inclement weather,

all students and staff will be remote only.

The email from the district landed in my Inbox with a thud and the words final. With the introduction of remote learning, school can now go on anytime, anywhere.

There is now no need to have Snow Days.

Covid’s silent impact on generations to come, really without their knowing or understanding of what they’re missing. Grandparents and parents will tell stories of these lost Snow Days, because the class of 2032 would be the last class to ever experience… the Snow Day.

Legacy of the Snow Day

I don’t remember when I learned about Snow Days. Perhaps 1st grade. I’d hear the news that perhaps-maybe-possibly, there would be snow the next morning and perhaps-maybe-possibly, school would be canceled. Yes! Possibility. Hope. It was like hearing it was going to be Christmas tomorrow! And if I was supposed to have a test or some other unpleasant experience, the news was all the better.

Immediately excitement would ensue and I’d start imagining the amazing feeling of waking up to the good news. When I wasn’t so sure the Snow Day was actually going to happen, I’d launch a silent Snow Day begging campaign that entailed lots of conversations with Mother Nature and all higher powers to please, please, please give us a Snow Day.

Hearing the phone ring at 5:30am was such a beautiful sound. Still, there was anticipation and unknowing fear. Would it be a full Snow Day or just a delayed opening?

If it was a delayed opening, of course that obviously was pretty much a bummer, mostly because I could never go back to sleep, and in the ’70s and ’80s children’s TV programming was non-existent on weekday mornings so your choices to bide your time were…

  1. Watch the morning show your mom watched
  2. Listen to the radio
  3. Imagine your new messed up school schedule because classes would be shorter
  4. Fight with your sibling
  5. Mope around the house waiting to go to school as you half watched the clock so you wouldn’t be late, but also losing track of the time and rushing out the door at the last minute after having all morning…OR…
  6. Study for the test you think you could still have depending on how sadistic the teacher was (would they cram the test into 20 minutes, knowing half the kids took a gamble on the Snow Day and didn’t study, or would they push the test out another week and therefore doom me to forgetting everything and having to start the study process over — ahh!).

If it was a Snow Day though…children throughout the land danced and screamed as chunks of cotton candy fell from the sky.

We didn’t care how much snow there was or if we later discovered the school made a mistake because the anticipated blizzard didn’t happen. There was NO school and that’s all that mattered.

Pancakes, pajama lounging, baking, snowball fights, cocoa, movie.

Life was good.

We’d go to bed still tired from waking up at 5:30am, and tired from relaxing and playing in the snow. We were grateful for the Snow Day, and also wished we could do it again the next day and not go back to school.

Because the beauty of a snow day is it’s a surprise break.

The world stops for a day, giving us a chance to reset. We don’t really know when it’s going to happen so we don’t have the option of over planning activities to pack our day. It’s Mother Nature’s way of saying, “Ok, you all need to slow your roll so let’s just take a little time out today to regroup.”

(Clearly we didn’t regroup enough during all of those Snow Days and Covid gave us all a big time out!)

A New Snow Day?

Is all that’s left is for us to tell our children and their children about the beauty of the Snow Day? They will never know the feeling we had, but it is our obligation to have the memories of the Snow Day live on.

But I wonder what the new Snow Day will be. What will kids wish for to get out of school? A massive hurricane or icy blizzard that takes down power lines and therefore internet access, hence no online school? But what’s the fun of that — there’s no internet access or TV which means no Netflix, no video games, no TikTok, no Instagram…no Anything! What kind of No School day is that??? Not a good one!

Or is it?

Perhaps the new “Snow Day” is better and more epic than before.

Perhaps it is a true break and disconnect so we can reconnect with ourselves and our families. Break out the board games. Light some candles. Find the paints and markers.

Of course we don’t wish for natural disasters, but… if I’m a kid with no Snow Day in sight forever, I might just wish for a tiny extra wind that takes out the electricity just at the moment the school district is deciding about a full closure, followed by the electricity coming back a couple of hours later, just late enough to not have a half day online and just short enough to guarantee a day of Netflix and social media binging.

Or, is this a time for our school districts to seize the day and create an opportunity?

What if we empower our children to identify and create their own break?

What if we teach them how to unplug and recharge?

What if we give our kids Mental Health Days of their choosing?

It might be just what Snow Day would’ve wanted.

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