MCPS considers eliminating snow days

Updated: Jan 25, 2021

by Woodland Crisfield

With online learning taking place, MCPS leaders are looking to replace snow days with remote instruction. Photo: Billings Gazette.

With the COVID-19 pandemic introducing a new era of remote learning, MCPS students could see snow days become a thing of the past.

The MCPS academic calendar has traditionally featured four built-in snow days in anticipation of any potential weather-related closures. If the county goes over that limit, they can either cut spring break short or extend the academic year further into the summer.

With county schools completely online now, some leaders see an opportunity to replace potential snow days with online class days for students to receive instruction at home.

When the pandemic forced school facilities to shut down, MCPS worked to ensure that each student had a computer and access to a WiFi hotspot. Since closure began in March 2020, the school district has distributed 133,000 chromebooks to students and 22,000 to staff members.

In the September 10th school board meeting, MCPS Superintendent, Dr. Jack Smith, suggested the idea of replacing snow days with instructional days at home.

“In my view of the world, this digital platform—this digital experience—is never going to go away entirely and we don't want it to because even in the best world, I never want to have a snow day again.”

Smith continued, “I just don't think there's use for it ever again, to have to make up a snow day.”

As of now, the school district has not formally announced that snow days are officially being eliminated. However, Superintendent Smith has stated that people are pursuing the idea.

This potential decision has elicited varying reactions from teachers and students alike. Northwood sophomore Roy Bridgewater was dismayed to hear the news.

“I don't think it will make much of a difference because normally we only have a couple, but it sucks that we will probably have no more snow days.”

Junior Hose Haile expressed a similar sentiment. “It is what it is; if that's what they decide, we'll just have to accept it.”

For many in the MCPS community, the ability to have instruction on a snow day is understandable. But nothing matches the thrill that many students feel when waking up on a cold wintry day and hearing the news that school has been closed.

Social studies teacher Daniel Stein may have said it best. “I understand why they are getting rid of snow days during online learning but that first day that would normally be a snow day is going to be a sad one.”