Sunday, March 26, 2023

Nor’easter brings pandemic’s 1st snow day


Reports of the demise of the snow day have been greatly exaggerated—in about 20 percent of schools.

Areas in western Maryland and southern central Pennsylvania were expected to bear the brunt of a nor’easter that arrived Wednesday morning in the nation’s capital and barreled northward along the I-95 corridor. Many areas in Pennsylvania and some in upstate New York expected two feet of snow to fall or more.

On top of the snow and potentially freezing rain, winds were forecast to be gusty, which could spell trouble for power lines.

This would, in any year of the past half-century, result in a near-automatic snow day.

Many schools that were using a hybrid or in-person model declared a snow day for Thursday. Even a few schools that were using a remote learning model said there would be no remote instruction Thursday.

In Maryland, though, school districts generally cancelled in-person instruction while encouraging students to work remotely during the storm.

Howard County, situated between Baltimore and Washington, was already working on an all-remote model. Although the system cancelled meal service, athletics, and all community-sponsored programming in school buildings, which were closed, the virtual instruction continued as scheduled Wednesday.

Baltimore City Public Schools also announced the cancellation of in-person classes Wednesday but continued with virtual instruction.

The shift in Maryland toward virtual learning during inclement weather mirrors what is becoming a national trend. As of Thanksgiving, only about 1 in 5 school districts across the nation said they were keeping snow days; the pandemic had seen more than half that are located in an area where snow days are a possibility either cancelling the whole idea of a snow day or seriously considering the change.

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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