Snow days. Those two words are music to the ears to thousands of students across Montgomery County. Every time snow is forecasted, students and parents alike are eagerly checking their phones for the highly-anticipated alert signaling an emergency weather closure, more familiarly known as a snow day. Snow days are crucial to maintaining the health of students and teachers alike.
The primary purpose of snow days are to protect the county’s residents from potentially dangerous weather. It would be hazardous for people to leave their houses to travel to school if there is ice covering the roads, and it is sometimes impossible if the roads are not plowed. School cancellations keep Montgomery County residents safe by allowing them to stay indoors, protected from the dangers.
Snow days also bring health benefits to the students and staff of Montgomery County. One of the most enjoyed benefits of snow days is sleeping past a normal weekday wake-up time. Due to early school start times, most students and teachers have to wake up early to get to school on time, which can lead to sleep deprivation. Snow days allow students and staff to catch up on that much-needed sleep.
The icy temperatures that accompany snow also have a negative effect on people’s behavior. According to a 2013 study published in the journal Evolutionary Psychology, cold temperatures cause people to be less cooperative and trusting of one another, which are skills needed at school and other learning environments. Taking a day off with chilly weather can avoid unnecessary conflict and improve people’s moods.
In addition, illness is rampant during snowy, chilly winter months. According to the Chicago Tribune, numerous illnesses occur in the winter, the same time period that snow days are the most common. Declaring a snow delay allows students to avoid contact with each other, preventing the spread of infectious diseases, and it will also allow already sick students time to recover without missing crucial instruction.
Vacations and relaxation time are necessary to maintain a productive lifestyle. In fact, CNN found that taking time off for a vacation can “increase performance by 80%” for workers. Snow days allow time for students and staff to get a much-needed break while protecting residents from the weather hazards outside.
However, critics may argue that taking a day off may leave the students lagging behind schedule, increasing stress on teachers to teach them more information in less time when they arrive back at school. Though this is an important concern, it can be easily addressed using technology or by extending the school year.
Montgomery County is already a tech-savvy school district, and it already uses many online resources that can communicate with students, such as myMCPS and Google Classroom. Through these websites, teachers can post lessons and create assignments, ensuring students can stay on schedule. In addition, the school board could extend the school year to accommodate for the lost time, allowing for teachers and students to complete the curriculum with decreased pressure and consolidated workloads.
The benefits of snow days greatly outweigh their costs. Snow days give students and staff a much needed respite. Hopefully, there will be several snow days this winter.
Article by MoCo Student staff writer Ashley Ye of Richard Montgomery High School