The future of snow days at AT

With the rise of remote learning during the pandemic, posts about the fall of snow days flooded social media. While the discussion surrounding snow days is forever changed, the feasibility of beloved snow days remains in case of power outages or an inability to move remotely. 

As schools across the nation have reopened for fully in-person instruction, the call for snow days is called back into relevance. The term was first coined in 2006, and now walks the halls of AT.

“The traditional snow day was used when there was too much snow and a school was unable to open and fully function that day whether the buses can’t drive on the road, there are power outages. There are a number of different factors that really, the superintendent makes that call,” said AT Principal Jack Andrews. 

If conditions that call for school closures take place, Dupage88 Superintendent Dr. Jean Barbamente will take one of two actions: put an emergency day into play, or conduct a synchronous remote learning day.

“What they do is consider all the factors: Addison Trail’s factors will be much different than a Downer’s or a Glenbard or a Fenton. We consider a student population; we have a number of students who don’t have personal transportation and rely on public transportation,” said Andrews.

There is no specific criteria for an emergency day or remote learning day, each scenario is to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. 

Andrews provides an example of a likely scenario that would call for an emergency day. “If it was an extremely cold day and we didn’t open school, and there was a down powerline, so a large amount of students wouldn’t have power that day, we would not call e-learning because a large number of students would not be able to participate.”

Factors like transportation, electricity, roads and accessibility to resources are utilized for the district to make an informed decision for AT. Lack of consideration or a forced attempt at an e-learning day where tens of students are for a reason out of their control are unable to attend, begins to create inequities. 

“You can expect certain things when you come to school. It’s actually a pretty predictable environment. When you’re at home on a cold Winter snow day, it’s less predictable. We have things at school like food, electricity, heat, running water,” said Andrews.

Many Blazers, like the social media posts indicated, were afraid snow days would be eradicated with their replacement of remote learning.

“I hated it when I found out about what the new system might bring. I loved that call from school saying we didn’t have to go, and I loved playing with my siblings in the snow, but I knew many parents that struggled with finding a babysitter when I was younger. Now, that isn’t necessarily a problem for high school students,” said senior Ayme Aguilar.

Senior Atziri Valbuena agreed, mentioning that she had seen hundreds of posts and listened to multiple teachers say snow days are forever a notion of the past.

“I saw a lot on Tiktok and Instagram about never having another snow day thanks to e-learning, but it’s good to hear snow days are possible although it is less likely for us to have a day fully off. The school year won’t be extended either,” said Valbuena.

The future of snow days at AT remains blurry, but it is a culmination of factors from administration that will determine attendance at AT on a frozen Winter day.

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