If it were any other year, Thursday’s expected storm would have students going to bed the night before with their pajamas inside out in the hopes of a snow day. But remote learning during the pandemic has dashed those hopes as many districts can simply continue online classes.
But not everywhere. Litchfield and Region 6 Superintendent Christopher Leone will save snow days for his students, including Thursday. That means no in-person or remote classes.
“There’s something special about a snow day when you’re a child,” Leone said. “I think in the rush to replace everything with remote, people aren’t factoring in many of the things that go into this.”
Some of those factors are practical. His schools have held classes mostly in person since August, so for them, a switch to remote learning at the last minute would be a pain.
He’s budgeted for a certain number of traditional snow days, up to five if they continue in-person learning and two if students are already set up for remote instruction.
In Watertown, interim Superintendent Janet Parlato says students have been remote, so online learning could continue Thursday. But the district has provided for two traditional snow days this year. The decision was a balance between adding days in late June or having some winter reprieve.
“We wanted students to have that experience and the excitement and the joy that comes from a traditional snow day,” Parlato says, “given the stressful times and the unpredictable nature of the days that we’re in because of the pandemic.”
Watertown will also have a traditional snow day Thursday.
Litchfield’s Leone says time off from school allows kids some of the essentials of growing up -- like playing in the snow, sledding or cozying up in the house.
“That’s all important,” Leone says, “that’s part of growing up in this part of the state and this part of the country.”
He has fond memories of getting to spend the whole day with his dad. He’s planning to spend Thursday with his two sons.
“Because we’ve not been able to connect much as a dad and sons during what has been a very trying, difficult time.”
Ali Oshinskie is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Ali covers the Naugatuck River Valley for Connecticut Public Radio. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter at @ahleeoh.