• Department of Teaching, Learning and Leading
Features & Articles

Are Snow Days a Thing of the Past?

A snow man in a purple scarf
You are 10 years old. Your mother says that a heavy snow is coming. School will surely be canceled and the day full of cartoons, sledding and snowball fights—neither a teacher nor a homework assignment in sight.

But alas, it is 2021, and the Zoom classroom is a threat to snow days everywhere.

Cassie Quigley, associate professor in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Leading at Pitt’s School of Education, says COVID-19-era e-learning has changed the equation

“Schools have made drastic changes to provide e-learning to students during the pandemic. This resource and time-intensive process of procuring technology, software and providing professional learning to teachers, students and parents, will continue beyond the COVID-era to help reduce interruptions in learning.”

So, a big snow storm? A burst pipe at Eisenhower Elementary? No problem.

“A school could shift to asynchronous instruction if there is an electricity outage or a water main break at the school,” Quigley said, “or there could be district-wide synchronous instruction for snow days.”

But sick days will survive, right? Also, maybe not.

“Perhaps a student who is sick could Zoom into the classroom instead of missing out completely on the school day,” Quigley said.

But she then added a silver lining to the snow-laden clouds: “The good news is that while snow days might be dead, so are make-up days!"