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No More Snow Days For St. Vrain Valley Students

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A family enjoying a snow day together while being dressed up for the cold weather

Before the 2019-2020 COVID-19 pandemic, St. Vrain Valley School District (SVVSD) used to have all the school days off during inclement weather such as blizzards, severe temperatures, etc. However, after spending the 2020-2021 school year doing online learning through an app known as Webex, students have been required to participate in Webex classes with their teachers and have an asynchronous learning day—where students join online classes and follow the teacher’s content and assignments—during snow days.

There are mixed opinions about not having snow days anymore coming from both the Silver Creek staff and the students. Ernie Flores, a counselor at Silver Creek High School, thinks the benefits of online asynchronous learning on inclement weather days outweigh the cons that others might feel that come with it. Flores states that new technology advances are partly to blame for students no longer having snow days in SVVSD. He also states that he is aware that a lot of the staff and students in the school would rather have the entire day off as a whole, but he instead likes having online learning classes so he can help his students if they might need it.

“When it snows, it’s sometimes near the holidays, like Thanksgiving and Christmas, [or] Winter Break,” Flores states. “So sometimes [with] those kids that don’t have that family support, depression is more likely to seep in, [or] isolation, and being that I’m available [online], I think it’s helpful to my students.”

According to Flores, there have been no new plans about reversing inclement weather days and asynchronous learning days. While Flores might find having no snow days beneficial, Mia Kunselman, a junior at Silver Creek High School, disagrees.

According to Kunselman, having snow days completely off is what helps students destress because they wouldn’t have any obligations–such as new assignments, waking up early or joining classes–and that the Colorado students would not get nearly enough snow days to make a significant impact. Overall, Kunselman says that her and her parents disagree with these new obligations and she would rather have the days to do what she pleases.

“Snow days are supposed to be fun to enjoy how much snow you get with your family and, if you live near them or feel brave enough to drive out in the snow, go see your friends, and just take that day to enjoy the season for what it is,” Kunselman states.

Kunselman also describes that she feels SVVSD is taking away from childhood and high school experiences that students and kids should get.

“We’re in high school and we’re teenagers,” says Kunselman. “We’re still kids; we should get a chance to enjoy the time that we have.”

Jane Coppinger, a mathematics teacher at Silver Creek and a mother, sees both the pros and cons of having no snow days. However, she is against having asynchronous online learning days during snow days.

According to Coppinger, Colorado has “state mandated hours” that students have to be learning and if they are not met, it could cause the school days to get extended into the summer. Coppinger believes that there are a lot of assumptions made about what goes at home for teachers, students and parents.

“I don’t like that [ SVVSD] assumes every family has access to [the] internet and every family has access to a technological device, and that every family has a safe space for kids to go to and learn,” Coppinger states.

Coppinger also believes that snow days should also be completely off and that students do not need any more time on technological devices than they already have. According to Coppinger, who has a degree in neuroscience, the gamma waves that come from the screens on technological devices impact the development of the prefrontal cortex. Not only that, but teachers and families might have more than one kid and their schedules might not coordinate together.

“Most families have more than one child; then the parents are now navigating two separate asynchronous schedules based upon the grades of their children,” says Coppinger. “Not only is a teacher running a Webex, they have to also monitor their kid online.”

While some agree with the new SVVSD district guidelines, some do not. Although, according to Flores and Coppinger, the teacher union and student representative can petition and communicate with the superintendent, Don Haddad, to get snow days back to being completely off again. Coppinger and Kunselman both agree that students and staff should work to petition against the new SVVSD inclement weather guidelines in the coming 2024 semester.

Snow days used to be a day where students would get to sleep in or do what they wanted. It used to be a day for relaxation for some students while others might catch up on missing school work. There is some hope for change with the SVVSD guidelines and there are mixed opinions about it. Whether it is beneficial to students or not is up for a debate.

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About the Contributor
Mia Ross
Mia Ross, Staff Writer

Mia is a senior at Silver Creek High School. She is currently involved in the Silver Creek Mathematics Club. Mia has never taken a Journalism class, making this her first time writing for the Talon Tribune. Mia chose to take Journalism because she wants to develop better communication and writing skills, and she wants join an open-minded community. Overall, she hopes to be a part of the difference within the community this semester and she is looking forward to graduating in December. Mia is passionate about writing, mathematics and soldering. She writes whenever she gets the chance. She also practices math on her own time and plans to turn it into her future career, Architectural Engineering. She is certified in soldering and just does this as a hobby. Mia has three very furry cats named, Echo, Liebe and Celeste. She is very into music and even plays the guitar.  

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