Even Snow Days Are Different This Year

Kids sled down the hill at Boston Common during a snowstorm in 2017. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Kids sled down the hill at Boston Common during a snowstorm in 2017. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

With a big nor'easter headed our way, you might think the decision to close school on Thursday would be a simple one.

But of course, in 2020, everything is different. And snow days are no exception.

Because most schools in Massachusetts have moved to some kind of remote learning option, some districts are staying "open" on Thursday (Check here to see what your district is doing.) School buildings are closed, but teachers and students will still be expected to log on from home and have a normal school day. Some districts, like Boston, are going  remote, but with a shortened day.

Other districts are closing entirely, making it a true snow day. As they do in other years, those districts will add at least one day to the school's calendar at the end of the year.

Where I live, school will be open tomorrow — remotely — much to the displeasure of my 11 year old.

"Imagine you're looking out the window at the beautiful snow but you and your siblings are forced to go to school," she lamented.

It's not just kids who aren't in favor of remote snow days; some adults don't care for it, either.

Priya Howell, of Hingham, where schools will be "open" for remote learning, says she wishes her four kids could just have a true day off.

"In a year where we've made everything else so unusual for them, I feel this is one thing we could have given them," she said.

Getting outside during the cold weather has been hard enough, and it would be nice for her kids to get some outside time during the day, before the sun sets, she said.

But for some kids, a day off means another challenge in this difficult year. It's been a hard school year for children with disabilities, said Angela Ferreira, educational advocate at Advocacy Associates of Massachusetts, and mom to a son with special education needs.

Her school district, Attleboro, is closing entirely for an old fashioned snow day, and she's not in favor of it.

"I don't think [my son] needs a break — he needs an education," she said, chuckling.

Students like her son have already been struggling and a day without any school instruction at all, be it remote or in-person, makes it harder for them in the long run, she said.

I asked people on Twitter what they thought, and many agreed with Howell's sentiment.

But not everyone. Maybe this snowstorm should be a test for future remote learning snowstorms — or they'd rather get out on time in June.

Whether it's a good old snow day or not, have fun and stay safe out there.


Headshot of Meghan B. Kelly

Meghan B. Kelly Multi-platform Editor
Meghan is the multi-platform editor for WBUR.



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