I was greatly surprised to learn my daughter's middle school and my son's high school, technically two separate districts, both chose to have all students work virtually on Monday as a major nor'easter ripped through New Jersey.
For one thing, strong 50 mph winds were forecast which with heavy snow can easily lead to widespread power outages. If that occurs, many families will be unable to have their kids work from home. Yet they're rolling the dice and hoping that doesn't happen.
For another thing, there's something to be said about giving kids who have already suffered so much loss through this pandemic a bit of an unexpected break. But no.
Think about it. They haven't been able to see their own family members in how long? Their socialization at school has been non-existent since spring. Even outside of school many haven't been able to see friends or have birthday parties, or promotion ceremonies. School sports have suffered.
So is it really too much to ask that they get this small, unexpected break? And certainly for the younger kids in elementary and intermediate schools, is it too outrageous to ask that one thing be kept normal? That on a day when New Jersey is getting covered with more than a foot of snow and many adults are told not to work that they, too, get a day off to play in the snow and remember a small portion of what it's like to be a kid again?
Some superintendents get it, some don't.
When it came up in December, Vernon schools Superintendent Karen D'Avino announced a snow day and told parents, "Snow days, in my opinion, are essential for students, especially our younger ones. Please encourage your children to play in the snow.”
Good for her. She knows when regular learning occasionally goes out the window, learning itself doesn't necessarily stop. You can learn things about how to relieve stress. You can learn things about life, about friendship, about yourself. You can learn that even in the darkest times like 2020 and 2021 there still can be happy moments to keep us going. You won't find that in any book. It doesn't come in a box. It comes from the heart.
During a pandemic, at least let kids have that.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.