Staff Editorial // Asynchronous snow days lack consistency

Blotter Staff

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the 2020-2021 school year, nothing is as usual, including snow days.

Earlier this year, the school board announced that the snow days of our childhood are a thing of the past, and we would instead be doing asynchronous learning days, similar to how the 2020 school year concluded. While this meant snow days were no longer days off, it also means we will no longer lose spring break trips to make up a few days of school, miss school days to be at the beach, or attend school in June over snow.

Our Blotter Staff has mixed feelings about this. For all of us, we’ve been raised knowing a call from Bill Briscoe meant a day off from learning, and we were getting an unexpected day to play, drink hot chocolate, and relax. Now, a call from Bill just means half a day of unstructured busy work.

Compared to normal virtual days, asynchronous snow days really lack structure, which is good for some students and not so good for others. Some of our staff enjoy being to work at their own pace, while others find themselves unmotivated to do the work with so little organization. Additionally, there’s so little consistency! The school tells us to sign in at 9:00 for our first period, but some of our teachers tell us we don’t have to! The day is supposed to be asynchronous, but some of our teachers require students to be on the Google Meets for a full class period.

The day’s assignment varies based on the class, ranging from videos to a work day. All students are counted as initially present for the day, but their official attendance is taken in three school days, based on what they completed.

The main reason we all don’t hate these new snow days is because of the lack of makeup days, especially this year, when we’ve already lost a week of both fall and spring break due to a late start in August. Isn’t it better to have an easy day of asynchronous school on a day we were supposed to than to have an additional day of traditional tacked on at the end of the school year when you should be tanning at the pool?

Snow days may seem easier to call this year too, since on the surface, there’s not as much to lose, and the district doesn’t have to make it known, “we will be at school even though you’ve been planning on being off on March 21.” For many classes, it’s harder to achieve what could be done in a normal period through watching a video. This is especially a problem in AP classes, which are required to cover x,y, and z by the national exams in May, and has prompted some teachers to refer to snow days as “lost days.”

In the future, it will be interesting to see what form the snow day takes. While a few staff members hope future days will revert to the traditional snow day, others think it would be hard to have to make up days again. Likely, we won’t have another full day off because of snow, and asynchronous learning will triumph over a day of play.