No more snow days?


Sam Snitker

On Jan. 15 Owatonna Public Schools issued an E-Learning Snow day for the first time

Sam Snitker, Writer

Snow days and dinosaurs now both have something in common, they are both extinct! Due to upcoming and recent weather conditions, schools have been shut down on Friday, January 15, and students will be excused from any schoolwork that day if they please. However, with the pandemic and distance learning brought into the mix, the snow day is essentially eliminated, as students can simply do their schoolwork online instead of enjoying an unexpected day off.

Numerous weather reports have shown that a blizzard warning is in issue for Owatonna and surrounding counties. According to the National Weather Service, “Areas in western and south central Minnesota will have northerly wind gusts of 40 to 50 mph, with blizzard conditions developing.” National Weather Services add, “A Blizzard Warning is in effect through Friday afternoon,” with Owatonna and Steele County being affected by the blizzard warning. It is estimated that Owatonna could get seven to 10 inches of snowfall in the following days. 

With distance learning currently playing a significant factor in our education system at the moment, snow days become irrelevant. Students have been distance learning from home all year and it makes perfect sense that they continue to learn at home during snow days.

Numerous OHS students have expressed their disappointment with the extinction of snow days. OHS junior Moriah Noeldner said, “It’s really upsetting that nobody will get to experience a snow day for the remainder of this year, and possibly ever. I hope that as soon as the pandemic is over that snow days continue to play the same role that they had in the past.” Though students don’t technically have the day off, the advantages are if you get your work done, you have the rest of the day off to whatever you want with the abundance of snow.

According to an email sent out to students from Principal Kath, “All OHS students are required to check in on Infinite Campus for attendance. Students also should check their school email and connect on Schoology for assignments and activities. Group 2 students should be aware that they may have additional tasks for courses as it is their last scheduled day of the semester.” 

Though snow days, or lack of them, affect students in many ways, they also have an effect on our staff. In regards to this issue, Amy Jo Havelka head of school health services said, “When in-person learning is canceled due to bad weather conditions, our experience with COVID-19 and distance learning saves us from losing a day of instruction. We can easily flip into our virtual learning model. The feeling of excitement that accompanied a snow day may be a thing of the past.” Though it is nice to rely on our virtual learning environment during a snow day, it is not ideal that a day that students would normally have off turns into a normal school day.

The impact of COVID-19 and distance learning has been significant on the way we do things here at OHS. Things aren’t ideal, but for the most part, that is out of our control. The most important thing we can do is work through the tough times and adversity. Even though snow days are a thing of the past, we can still make the most out of it by getting more work done during what would usually be considered a waste of a school day.