Should Iowa Schools Get Rid of Snow Days?

Are snow days becoming a thing of the past?

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Last year, New York City's Education Department officials announced that they would be getting rid of snow days. Students now have to attend virtual learning sessions in the case of bad weather making going into school difficult.

Major bummer for New Yorkers...

The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way that students learn forever. Students were able to continue their education safely from home. I have a complicated relationship with online learning.

I graduated college in May of 2020, so I witnessed firsthand how much of a challenge and gift online learning can be.

It's a great tool, but it can be troublesome sometimes especially if you don't have the best or most secure internet. Also, there are certain concepts that can be taught better in a classroom

Other schools over the past few years have done away with snow days and have turned them into virtual learning days. As reported by NPR, in 2021 many schools announced that they would get rid of them for the following school year. This includes schools in New York City (as previously stated) along with Naperville, Illinois, and Provo City, Utah.

Is this idea coming here to the Hawkeye State?

Well, it's actually already here...

In December of 2020, West Des Moines Community School District officials made the change. There are two main reasons that schools are considering this:

  1. Reducing the gap between learning days
  2. Completely gets rid of the idea of "making up" school days

I remember when there were a few particularly bad winters back East. There would be some years where we would be getting out later and later for summer.

According to Iowa law, schools have to hold class for a minimum of 1,080 hours or 180 school days per school year.

In 2021, Dubuque made this change. According to a report, Iowa government officials gave schools permission to hold virtual learning days in instances of bad weather and allowed said days to count for the district’s required time.

Some officials believe there is a benefit to snow days! It can help kids catch up on sleep and act as a sort of mental health day.

However, once it gets to April and teachers are trying to figure out how to teach their students the curriculum in a MUCH shorter span of time, those snow days might be doing the exact opposite for the teacher's mental health.

It doesn't look like this will be on a statewide level for a while, if ever. However, in certain instances, schools are sure to probably use the tools that they've discovered from 2020 to help them reach the required hours.

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