Why Virtual Days Have Ruined the Integrity of Snow Days


Tyger Albano, Editor in Chief

The school year of 2020-2021 introduced West Fargo High School to what is considered, “Virtual Learning.” This was to combat the pandemic by having students stay at home to prevent an abundance of people at school. Implemented using two cohorts, half of the student body would go to school and learn normally, while the other half would be forced to stay at home and complete their schoolwork in a multitude of online activities. This could be watching videos, Schoology activities, and Microsoft Teams meetings.

The outcome of this plan must have been positive in the eyes of West Fargo Public Schools, as they decided that this same virtual learning environment would be used in the case of inclement weather forcing students to stay home. This decision would in turn ruin the days looked forward to by students.

It used to be an exhilarating day at school with everybody discussing rumors about a possible cancellation of tomorrow’s classes. Many would pray and hope they would get to sleep in and enjoy their day off. The immense anticipation from students showed how much everybody loved having a pleasant surprise in a random break. Now, there is only slight excitement in the speculation of a snow day, as virtual days have diluted the joy of staying at home.

I believe the reason why online days from home are as bad as they are is the fact that students must stay attentive to their classes, even though most of them are 5-minute check-ins on teams. The reason that the virtual learning schedule worked two years ago was that teachers planned to have students work from home, adjusting and removing the need for physical activities. Now with teachers caught off guard, the only thing they can think to do in a mandatory online meeting is have students state their presence as they take attendance, sending them off to work on their own, if any.

To me it seems unnecessary and a waste of time to have to make up school from home, and even though some classes can do actual work, others do not have the same loyalties. For example, teachers can have their students take notes and do worksheets, but in some classes, there have been physical activities planned for that certain day. These are most prominent in science classes with labs and CTE classes like metals and building trades. I personally experienced this when having to speed up lab procedures in my AP Biology class and Microbiology labs due to loss of time that could not have been made up online.

One might suggest that the teachers simply push everything back one day in their schedule. But that liberty cannot be taken because the online day counts as a real day of school, this makes the virtual session seem like a day of school in which no work is done. However, if there was no school at all, a make-up snow day would allow for teachers to adapt to a day off.

Snow days used to be a day for students to relax and enjoy their days, however they have been turned in such a way in which they become drones to their iPad.