Fall has just begun, but many have already turned their eyes and hearts to what may happen in the winter. While fall is still usually a great time — it is always my favorite season — it is hard to ignore the popular traditions and events of its preceding season, whether it be the end of a semester, the celebration of multiple religious holidays, or the flashy conclusion to the year. We may even start to see some holiday advertisements before the end of October.
One of the most coveted moments of winter for students across the South are snow days, those freeing moments when the rare occurrence of snow cancel our school time. These days highlight great childhood memories for some and surprising relief from a project for others. Without a doubt, they are one of the best factors of the frigid and morose season.
Those snow days, however, are now becoming obsolete. With the emergence of virtual learning, there is no need to cancel classes if ice blankets the roads; students can just log in and work at home. Snow no longer comes with the cancellation of school, meaning those fun days of sledding and hot chocolate no longer guarantee freedom from classes.
However, the reserved weather days that Hamilton County uses for snow are not just going away. This year so far, they have been repurposed to allow for extra off time during breaks. One day was used for the Friday before fall break, extending the period to eleven days, and another two have been placed on the Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving break, effectively creating a second fall break.
Senior Jeremy Rogers voiced his agreement with the adaptation. “While it is true that I’ll miss the days of waking up to snow… I’m quite happy that we get extra vacation days out to counteract it,” he responded, adding, “I don’t think this will affect us very much as students.”
Peggy Moyer, mathematics teacher, also sympathizes with the change. “I have appreciated getting our days back this fall with the [COVID-19] schedule. All teachers have been talking about how worn out we are and it was nice to have the extra day before fall break. I will enjoy being off more at Thanksgiving but am nervous that students will lose their edge and not be ready for [end-of-course exams] that come quickly after Thanksgiving.”
Moyer went on to compare the winter weather of Chattanooga to her former home in Michigan: “I had very few snow days growing up. The town I lived in had plenty of snow removal equipment, so unless we got more than eight inches at a time it was cleaned up about as quickly as it showed up. There was snow on the ground from December to March usually – depth would vary. We had curbs and sidewalks as well, so it is safer to walk… we had to live at least three miles from the school, due to sidewalks, so not that many students rode the bus. That… put the burden on students to get to school. The snow we get here is much icier, so it is harder to drive on here. Plus, there is much less practice driving on it, so I don’t like driving on snow here. I really enjoy just watching the snow melt instead of having to shovel the driveway and sidewalks.”
Despite the initial sorrow, the end of snow days does not mean that we are bound to lose all fun with the weather. Sledding, snow cream, hot chocolate, snowball fights, snowmen: these moments are still going to be available to all of us when the wintry weather arrives. We just need to finish our homework first.