Snow Days

I read an article yesterday that reported that increasing numbers of school districts are doing away with school cancellations due to bad weather by providing on-line assignments for students when they can’t get to school.  Teachers can also be available by computer for lessons, resources, and support. They can do video conferencing for group assignments.  These districts have to provide all students computer notebooks so they can access their homework when the weather keeps them at home.  I loved snow days when I was a child. I don’t know how I would have felt if I knew a snow day just meant doing school work at home.  A snow day always felt like a gift.

What are some memorable snow days (or other bad weather days) that you remember? What do you think of this new trend? 

37 thoughts on “Snow Days”

  1. The classroom in the header photo looks much like the ones I knew in elementary school in the late 1940s, although the pictured classroom is more modern. That Gilbert Stuart portrait of Washington hung in many classrooms across the country. From the map it seems Alaska and Hawaii are states. That didn’t happen until 1959, when I was in high school. This classroom seems designed to rely on electric lighting. My school was built in 1903, so it had no electric lighting for the first three or four decades. Our elementary school classrooms had huge windows that could be opened or shut with wooden poles, about ten feet long, that were operated by trusted students. All schools had a big chalkboard, black of course, behind the teacher. The desks were bolted in place facing the teacher. Our desks had a slot to hold pens or pencils and holes to hold ink pots. We were told that naughty boys sitting behind girls used to dunk the girls’ pigtails in the ink pots, which is why none of our desks had ink pots. I never saw flowers in classrooms when I was a kid..

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  2. Snow days in particular I don’t recall. But I was thinking the other day of a December maybe 15 years ago; seems like every Thursday there was a snowstorm. I would have to plow out the road before Kelly could go to work. And then I’d have to make another path so she and the kids could get home again at night. Make a path and sit at the hiway in the tractor waiting for them. Stood and talked with a Sheriff deputy friend one day. It was cold and windy and I had ear-muffs but he didn’t and I watched his ears turn red and he kept talking and I kept thinking ‘Why don’t you stop talking and get back in your car??’
    Could have used a snow day one of those days…

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  3. I don’t remember a specific on, just how welcome they were. I’m sure we got to go outside and make a snow fort in all that snow… My mom would’ve been doubly pleased after she started teaching, when I was in 5th grade…

    During the Halloween Blizzard of ? ’91, our nephew Vin had been staying with us for the weekend, and got one more day… he and Joel were elated, and I’m sure a snow fort emerged that day.

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  4. Catholic school is different than public school in that we had recess every day for 15 minutes in the morning 15 minutes in the afternoon and a full hour at lunch

    The number told us to dress warm because even if it was 15 or 20 below you were going outside for an hour at lunch and if you didn’t bring a coat with you it was gonna be a long hour

    my bus ride to school was about a 45 minute trip and on those wintry days when it was challenging it would be longer

    Not many days off that I can remember and when we did get days off it was kind of strange because the Catholic school wasn’t in the sink with the public school and it was rare that we would get a day that would match up with a date that they would get

    It did happen a few times that I can remember walking the two blocks down the hill to go sledding with the other kids who got the day off it did happen a few times that I can remember walking the two blocks down the hill to go sledding with the other kids who got the day off

    Well I didn’t get a lot of snow days I did have a lot of sick days I had an pneumonia bout that lasted about two years and it cost me a bunch of classroom time in third or fourth grade
    I remember chicken noodle soup and 7-Up and saltines with the dating game and the newlywed game on TV looking outside at the snow and feeling strange that I have this time alone but didn’t have the energy to get up and run around and enjoy it

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    1. I’m imagining that “the number” at the starts of the second paragraph should be the nun?

      WP is really getting weird. Two consecutive identical sentences within the fifth paragraph! How the heck did that happen?

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      1. the nuns is correct and the double typing is beyond me. i guess i should try to be more vigilant but these days i just want to be a voice and the time to redo it might kill it

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      1. yeah i had pnemonia one year and double pnemonia the next. then 3 or 4 years later started the vegetarian thing in my teens and the malnutrition and mono left me less than perfect but i was /am strong and resiliant so the scary part is what i would be if i were 100% then and now.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. I never had a snow day, probably because my school was in central Iowa. Our winter storms were pretty lame.

    My only snow days were days off from work. In the early 1980s I worked at the Health Sciences complex on the U of MN campus. We had a rough winter with several heavy snowstorms. The Highway Department issued a warning when the first one hit, suggesting that people should stay off the highways. When the second and third storms hit, MN DOT went further, suggesting that businesses should call a Snow Day and not open. Well, that was fun!

    After that MN DOT quietly abandoned the business of suggesting that people stay home. I can only guess that the business community was irked and confronted MN DOT bureaucrats.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Like Steve I never had a snow day either, growing up in St Louis. I’m sure I would not have enjoyed having to do homework on a snow day if it had existed for me. As an adult I love snow days off from work. My company has a policy that if we have a snow day and you have your company laptop with you, you can work from home and still get paid. I just take the day. Forget working from home.

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    1. heck ive been in atlanta for a snow day. it doesnt take much to turn the non minneapolis locations on the globe into lock down situations for mere mortals.
      atlanta doesnt have anything to deal with the weather related inconveniences we assume are part of the deal here.

      ice storm will shut the worldl down until it melts and if you try too son the people in the ditch around you take all the fun out of it.
      its ususally just a day or two but the novelty doesnt amuse anyone down there. they are not good storm sitters.

      florida too texas too kansas city too
      omaha too
      part of minneapolis storm problems have always been people who arent form here who freak out and dont know ho to drive in the wake of 2 inches of snow.

      one of my kids and i (dang i cant remember which one) went to the university on minnesota for our tour in the midst of a big snowfall . like a 16 or 18 inch storm. the guy walking backwards giving the tour was pretty funny trying to act like it was part of the deal and he obviously wasnt from here. it was hard getting home after with the roads all messed up. i have my two youngest daughter that are the yin and the yang and one goes for the gusto and will take on any situation and the other will have nothing to do with it and needs to have the car parked if there is ice or snow i the equation.

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  7. I can imagine that the kids aren’t thrilled to have work to do on the New Snow Day, but it probably doesn’t take nearly as long as a full day of school. The consolation is they don’t have to tack on another school day in spring, at the close of the year.

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  8. Had to smile at the photo at the top of today’s post. Looks like a classroom that has been staged or styled by a real estate agent to attract more students. They got a little carried away with the flowers. 🙂

    In first grade we had desks like those in the photo, but they weren’t fastened to the floor as Steve’s were. At the boarding school our desks were two-seaters, each designed to seat two students next to each other. I recall that my legs were too short to reach the floor on those, so I’d absentmindedly dangle them back and forth which drove the nuns nuts. They had the school’s handyman make me a small wooden stool that I’d carry with me from one classroom to the next to place my feet on.

    First grade was the only grade that didn’t have ink bottles in the inkwells. In learning penmanship, starting in third grade, we were required to use a pen that needed to be dipped in the ink. No fountain pens or, heaven forbid, ball point pens were allowed. Starting in 6th grade we were required to turn in math home work in ink, and you were graded not only on having arrived at the correct answers but on neatness as well. Making a double underline, using a ruler, under your final answer to a problem, was tricky and often resulted in a big ink smear. Who the heck thought up these rules?

    I don’t recall ever having a snow day where school was called off. It was rare to get enough snow to justify that, and it just wasn’t done. Of course, Danish winters, even back then, weren’t as severe as winters in Minnesota.

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    1. i had those desks too and they did just like the picture put boards to keep them in a straight line and we had ink well holes but the fountain pens we used had cartridges (the 60’s were a time of spaceage technology ) wearever and schaffer were the choices. i was a schaffer guy. being a lefty the challenge was to put the ink on without smearing it across the page. i see lefties in the world my age that hold their pens funny and i always ask if they were catholic school kids and usually they are amazed to admit that they were and want to know how i came up with that.

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      1. I would say that being a southpaw would make it pretty near impossible to not smear the ink when writing with pen and ink, it was hard enough as a regular right handed person. Had they quit trying to convert lefties by the time you went to school, tim? The nuns in Ireland tried to wean my mother of it, and succeeded in her having horrible handwriting for the rest of her life.

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        1. they surprisingly did not mess with my left handedness. they messed with everything else about me but left my dominant hand of choice to me.

          ink smearing was a problem but not impossible. the contortion is what tips me off to those other catholic school grads. its pretty un natural

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        2. it dawns on me as to why that was. the catholic school started its classes in 2nd grade after the public school teachers had taken the task of teaching the basics of reading writing and rithmatic to the kid and gotten them started. the nuns didnt want to have to teach that hard. if a ruler across the knuckles and punishment like putting your nose on a dot on the blackboard for 30 minutes couldnt solve their problems they were ill equipt to deal with it.
          today it would be absolute child abuse. in 1961 it was teaching. teachers pets were everywhere. if you didnt want to get beat and scarred you did what was asked.
          my favorite memory is about the time i think ive relived here before where the parking lot was repaved and the area between the parking area right by the school and the area out the past belly button high posts where the cars parked for church on sunday was an open area filled with gravel . for playground purposes it divided the boys and girls areas. .on a rainy day the gravel area would fill with water and all the boys would get their feet wet getting over to their side of the playground. well needless to say it was too good to pass up so we started splashing the girls and one thing led to another and over on the far side of the boys playground by the warming house was a very long board that would certainly make it possible to get more than one girl at a time when used as a weapon of assistance. as i was about to give it its inaugural run a nun snuck up behind me and shrieked ” what are you doing?????” to which i dropped the board and sent a giant spray of water right down the front of that old black habit as she shrieked again this time in unrecognizable words. i spent the rest of the day in the principles office on that one but boy was it a good laugh.

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  9. The winter of 2016-17 in Oregon was a doozie. By the end of January Portland had called 9 snow days. That might sound like fun for the kids and teachers alike, but laws specify how many days have to be in the school year. That meant that the Portland schools somehow had to find ways to make up those nine lost school days. Anything they proposed was unacceptable to one group or another. In the end, I think they met the law by running the schools deep into June.

    It’s tempting for Minnesotans to laugh at cities where a relatively light snow absolutely shuts down the town. It only takes an inch or two to kill commuter traffic in a place like Portland or Washington DC. It isn’t a case of those folks being too “soft” to handle a storm. In cities that don’t usually get snow the highway departments lack road salt and plows for clearing a rare storm. And drivers who lack experience driving in snow are sure to rack up huge numbers of accidents, making everything more of a mess.

    Portland is a hilly city. Local TV stations have institutional memory of places where a winter storm makes driving insane. There is one infamous intersection in Portland where any storm turns driving into a destruction derby. When it snows, news crews go out and film the mayhem. Watching the slow motion collisions might sound like sick humor, but everybody gets a big laugh.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You nailed it, PJ! That is exactly the intersection I referred to. Right after a storm and all those collisions, some drivers wise up. But four or five years go by before the next storm, and when it comes the slow-motion disaster pageant runs again.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. A friend of mine who lived in Washington D.C. used to say the city’s attitude toward snow was “The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.” There weren’t any plows, so you had to wait for it to melt.

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  10. We loved snow days. Playing outside, playing indoors when we got cold, going back outside… I would have absolutely hated having to do school work on those days. They were like a gift – doing school work would have wrecked the fun.

    My mom likes to tell about the time an early spring snowstorm was predicted and they called off school the night before. The next day was a beautiful warm sunny day and the neighborhood moms and kids went on a picnic.

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  11. Couple years ago we had a snow day during finals week at the college. The president made the decision to close the campus. And we thought it was the right decision: the weather was bad.
    However it sure messed up finals and some instructors were not happy.

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  12. What I remember about snow days was that girls weren’t allowed to dress in slacks. We had to wear slacks below our dresses/ skirts, then had to remove them after we got to school.

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    1. I remember going to school wearing a skirt, opaque tights, and what we called “snow pants”, and taking the pants off when we got to school. The snow pants were sort of thick and stretchy, like sweat pants. They would get encrusted with snow just above the boots. With luck, they would sort of dry off during the hours you were in school.

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  13. I remember listening to the school closings on the radio, mornings when the snow was heavy. The announcers would read the name of a town and then say “public and parochial,” which I didn’t fully understand. It seemed to me they were saying “public and perocchio”, like maybe Perocchio was Pinocchio’s younger brother or something.

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    1. Sometimes it seems modern technology creates a new problem for every one it solves, but at least the school closing thing is vastly better now. Schools will issue group emails telling families when schools will close. Sure beats the old system, although it was kinda cool to huddle around a radio in the kitchen while the world filled with snow, waiting endlessly for WCCO’s crew to finally get to your school’s name.

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