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The County Chronicle

The County Chronicle

Snow Days? More Snow, Less School

Virginia students have rarely gotten snow days the past few winter seasons. In fact, we haven’t had a big snow event since January of 2016, when Dulles Airport was covered with 29 inches of snow, and parts of West Virginia with 42 inches. It has been eight years since we have had winter storms with large accumulations. I think that students deserve more snow days.

It doesn’t take much for snow to shut down school in Virginia. In January, we had three snow days for two storms totaling around six inches. But according to the Loudoun County Public Schools website, “The student calendar has over two weeks of days built in so we can have inclement weather days without adding days to the end of the year.”

There are 15 days built in. We used three, but the weather seems to mostly surround January and February when it comes to snow, so I think we should take advantage of the snow days that are here. Barely any snow days were used last year and several years before, yet we continue to start the school year earlier and earlier and end the school year later in June. I think that the school division’s administration should be more considerate of any kind of weather that could result badly and if we do not use all the snow days provided for us they get tacked on to the end of the year and we can possibly end the school year earlier.

I also think that we should have some more snow days because this time of year is stressful. It is mid-year, entering the new semester, and in February we have only four days off in total, which follows the trend of fewer holidays each month as the school year progresses. For example: March has two days off, and April three days off. In comparison to the beginning of the school year, where there were several student holidays or days off, the winter months have very few days off, and longer holiday breaks seem to be shortened as well.

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Students now have a lot of stress with school, sports, jobs and other obligations. They need days to work on themselves not only academically, but mentally as well according to Mayo Clinic Health System: “It is an intentional act to alleviate distress and poor mood and motivation, while improving attitude, morale, functioning, efficiency and overall well-being.”

Having snow days allows for decompression from stress. Spending time with friends and family,  playing in the snow,  sledding, and breaks from school can provide boosts in happiness and carefree fun.

According to David Radar, PhD, in (writer for Phychreg), “Snow has several mental health benefits. It can reduce stress and anxiety levels, promote mindfulness, provide an opportunity for physical activity, increase social connections, and promote a sense of wonder and awe.”

Lastly, driving in the snow can be very dangerous for parents driving kids to school, students driving (especially beginners) and buses transporting many children and student walkers. In fact, according to the U.S Department of Transportation-Federal Highway Administration, there are more than 5,760,000 automobile crashes each year on average. Out of all of these crashes 17% occur during snow or sleet, 13% on ice pavement, and 14% take place on snowy or slushy pavement. The fact that there are that many crashes a year because of snow/ice is alarming, especially when some of those crashes can be prevented by schools erring on the side of caution; therefore, Loudoun County Public School offices should be more willing to close schools on days like the January 18, when school was held despite icy conditions in some locations.

Students deserve one or two days a month during winter to enjoy the snow or a mental health day, depending on the amount of snow and how many days off there are per month.  If not, I think that the built in snow days we don’t use should be factored in, and our schools could end earlier in June because towards the end of the school year when state and AP testing is over, the classes become less packed with knowledge and a lot of free time is available which leads teachers to be putting on movies or playing games even though we could simply not even have school.

The Loudoun County Public Schools state that the safety of our students and staff is the most important consideration. My opinion not only concerns safety, but also mental health and work loads. All should be taken into consideration during the mid winter months of the school year.

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About the Contributor
Courtlyn Armstrong, staff writer
She is a sophomore at Loudoun County High School and this is her first year being part of The County Chronicle and she loves creative writing as well as investigative stories. This year will be her second year being involved in LCHS’s lacrosse team which she plans on continuing through the rest of her high school years . Also outside of school she loves hanging out with friends and listening to music in her free time.

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