Are snow days gone for good?


Photo credit/ Credit: Vincent Shultz/ ARCHIVES

Marywood entrance on a snowy day.

Snow days are a common part of the academic calendar for schools across the country that experience harsh winters. They are something that students of all ages look forward to. But are snow days going to be a thing of the past?

Up until recently, snow days were still a part of the college experience as well. Getting those emails from professors that class was canceled allowed students to regroup from a stressful week and take the day for themselves.

But has the pandemic taken this experience away from students for good?

Now that the COVID-19 pandemic has made Zoom classes and virtual learning part of the mainstream, it seems that snow days no longer have to be an option. Instead of canceling classes altogether, schools have opted for “virtual learning days”.

“From a student standpoint, I do worry about the constant pressure of being obligated to meet when a well-placed snow day can be a wonderful and needed escape from the grind of a semester. For many students, this also could represent challenges in terms of accessibility, or similar difficulties with child care challenges facing faculty,” said Marywood history professor, Dr. Adam Shprinzten, Ph.D.

Shprintzen raises the point that dropping everything to convert to an online learning day is not as easy as one may think. This is true for students and faculty alike.

“During these unpredictable times, understanding and flexibility and the opportunity for faculty and students to work together in a shared, common interest is essential,” said Shprintzen.

Marywood religious studies professor, Dr. Daniel Cosacchi, Ph.D., echoed Shprintzen’s sentiments, especially regarding faculty with children.

“Since I have a young child at home, there is the added stress of how to hold class with my daughter present the entire time,” said Cosacchi.

On February 4, there was a snow and ice storm and instead of classes at Marywood being canceled, they continued via virtual learning. Many professors canceled classes altogether and gave students the day off, while others converted their lesson plan online.

University administration is still planning on incorporating traditional snow days into the school calendar and with the addition of mental health days.

“It has already been decided that there will be two regular snow days given this year. Mrs. Yankelitis and Dr. Clark, who makes these decisions, is aware of the decision,”said Robyn Krukovitz, the executive assistant to the President.
At the end of the day, snow days will not be gone for good. Not all faculty can make the switch to online learning days that easily with kids at home. Plus, there is a need for students to have a well-deserved day off once in a while.

“More of this type of cheer on the university-level leads to a more rested and happier community, with everyone even a bit more refreshed to tackle their studies and other tasks at hand. Long live snow days,” added Cosacchi.

UPDATE: This story was written before the university-wide snow day on February 25. Marywood has implemented its first of two snow days promised in the academic calendar.

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