Snow Days to continue despite hybrid circumstances


Lexi Wachen

Above is a computer screen split between Zoom and Netflix on a snow day. Typically, on a Snow Day, people spend time relaxing, but due to the the remote learning option, students wonder if they will soon become obsolete.

Lexi Wachen, News Editor

The frisson of excitement that sets in while entering the Masters’ zip code on the Snow Day Calculator just to see that there is still only “little to no chance of anything, but possible,” has always been a rite of passage for students during the wintertime. However, this year, that tradition is subject to change. Due to the integrated online format, there have been many discussions among students and faculty regarding what snow days will look like in a global pandemic.  

Typically, when determining if conditions qualify for a snow day, Head of School Laura Danforth consults with the Crisis Management Team, which consists of Craig Dunne, head of engineering and maintenance, Ed Gormley, upper school activities and transportation coordinator, and the extended communications team. The Crisis Management Team evaluates several factors including transportation as well as conditions throughout the tri-state area, prior to announcing the day off to the larger community.

When conditions do call for a snow day, it’s not just students who are excited; Danforth recalled the happiness and gratitude she felt on snow days during grade school, and even now, as the Head of School, that feeling persists. Regardless of the different circumstances during the pandemic, if snow days are handled correctly, she doesn’t plan on getting rid of them. 

“I love snow days. I have always loved them ever since I was a little kid; getting to be in your pajamas, not going on Zoom for a day, I think is just really healthy,” she said.

Like Danforth, Gormley expressed his appreciation for snow days. 

“I just think it’s good for people’s well-being, attitude, and just general happiness; you just hear the word snow day and people begin to smile, and just get really excited,” he said.

Compared to public schools that primarily look at the weather conditions within the district, as a private school, Masters has to evaluate the severity of the conditions in several counties, including Westchester, Fairfield, Bergen County, and New York City. 

Generally, if the conditions remain calm throughout Westchester County, campus remains open, and those members with a farther, more severe commute are left to make a judgment call. 

Junior Olive Saraf believes that for students with possible transportation barriers, having virtual and in-person learning, will be extremely beneficial. Saraf said, “Because transportation can be an issue, if the weather gets bad, I think it will be really helpful to have the online option. But also, I do feel that we should get at least one day off during the winter to rest, catch up on homework and take a mental break.”

Despite Masters’ technological access to resources to conduct classes remotely, Danforth strongly believes that snow days are extremely important psychologically in maintaining a healthy psyche for students, teachers, and parents, especially during such trying times. 

She said, “In the end, I think the gift of snow days is really important. Any educational leader that doesn’t honor that forgets what it’s like to be a kid.”