Say Goodbye to Snow Days (For Now)


Gillian Brown photo

Nonnewaug students will now learn remotely on days when weather prevents in-person classes — that means no more traditional snow days, at least for this school year.

Thayer Daly Lehman, News Editor

Snow days will now be a thing of the past with Region 14’s improved online learning capabilities.

With students now learning remotely for much of the winter season, it limits the number of potential snow days. However, if students are able to return to the hybrid model in January as planned, then weather could still pose an issue.

On Nov. 12, Region 14 superintendent Joseph Olzacki informed parents, students and staff of the region’s decision to “move to remote synchronous learning” due to an increase in COVID-19 cases. Hybrid learning is expected to resume on Jan. 19, 2021, depending on whether or not it is then safe to do so. 

On Oct. 29, administrators sent an email, updating the school community on the new policy for weather-related closings. The email read: “Dr. Olzacki notified the region that we will no longer have traditional snow days that are made-up at the end of the year. When it is not possible to come to school due to snow, we will have remote learning days.”

This means that in the event of inclement weather, students will be expected to log into their classes via Google Meet and follow their normal online school schedule, depending on whether it is an odd or even day.

Nonnewaug students have had mixed reactions to this decision. Some students feel that it will allow them to better manage their workload and stay organized. 

“Losing snow days would get kids in better habits to stay on top of their work, which is especially important if they’re balancing challenging classes,” said senior Zuzu Gasco. 

Some feel that the decision could specifically benefit AP students.

“I think it’s good in terms of the speed of the class,” said senior Cody Kelsey. “We have to have all of our material covered by a certain date and when we have too many snow days in a row, we not only lose that time, but we often forget what we learned.”

However, students are also worried about the additional stress it could cause them.

“While the opportunity to learn online when traffic conditions are hazardous allows for students to maintain their grasp of material, the online school dynamic is difficult for a lot of students,” said senior Ian Budrewicz. “To have to attend school on a day that was expected to be cancelled could cause undue stress.”

While Region 14’s new policy for snow days will be a big change, the administration is optimistic that it will offer students greater educational opportunities, as well as limit risks in relation to both weather and the coronavirus.

“We believe that learning is seamless and has the ability to transition back and forth between in-school environments and at-home models,” said Declan Curtin, dean of students. “However, it is much different in a high school than in a middle school or elementary school. Our students are more independent, ready and prepared for online learning, and are capable of transitioning to that model much quicker.” 

The replacement of snow days with remote learning days will be put into effect for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years, but is not a permanent change for the future. According to Curtin, the Connecticut Department of Education intends to take input from superintendents and analyze the data to determine whether or not to continue with this model in the future.