By Jasmine Bar
This winter has been full of heavy snowfalls and icy roads, causing Briarcliff High School to instate seven snow days so far (two in December, one in January, and four in February).
“Snow days are great because they allow me to go outside and get some fresh air,” says sophomore Mary Donoghue. “They are nice breaks from studying and schoolwork.” Many other high school students share Mary’s point of view
However, while these generous breaks from school may seem like perfect days to sleep in and play in the snow, some express their concerns for how the lack of school days may affect us in the future. The New York State Law requires a minimum of 180 school days. The school has built in a certain number of snow days into its schedule (usually two days), but after those are used up, they are forced to make decisions that cut into our vacations. In the past, the school has made Parent-Teacher Conferences day/ Election Day a school day, although it is typically a day off for students. The school has also taken days away from Spring Break (which is typically one week in length). This year students will be expected to attend school the Friday before Memorial Day weekend.
“Although I understand that the school is required have a certain number of school days, I think it is unfair to cut into our breaks,” says sophomore Kristen Burnette. Many families have vacations planned for Spring Break, and removing days might cause complications in their trip scheduling.
Another concern regarding snow days is that there is less time to learn if school is closed. Teachers required to prepare students for standardized tests and AP exams are forced to cram more lessons and information into a fewer number of days. In effect, this increases the burden of schoolwork for students in the long run. Some teachers have resorted to helpful resources, such as Blackboard, in order keep students up to date during snow days.
Ultimately, declaring snow days and making up for the consequentially lost school days is in the hands of the superintendents of school systems. The decision often requires hours of preparation and discussion among administrators, local officials, road crews, and meteorologists. Most school leaders said they take a better-safe-than-sorry approach, but it can be hard to do as the number of days off climbs.
As we enter the month of March, it is likely that we have not seen the last of our snow days. Hopefully, the school’s community will be able to overcome the challenges that snow days present while nevertheless having a good time and enjoying the snow.