Hershey High School’s recent spring break was short—depressingly so. Vacations that were planned for the full time were either cut short or caused missed classes.
Clearly, the snow day make-up system in the school district needs to change.
The current system sets up the schedule so that there are four days off allotted to making up snow days (such as the day after New Year’s). Any extra snow days are tacked on the end of the year.
Civics and German teacher Miriam Collins expressed her dislike for making up snow days during what should be days off. “I wouldn’t mind if school was structured a bit differently so we got longer breaks,” Collins said. Collins recommended the system be reworked so that breaks are longer and snow days are simply added to the end of the year.
Another possible solution to this snow day make-up problem could be cyber snow days. According to freshman Mofifoluwa Oladipo, “You don’t have to be physically present in school to actually get the education.” In fact, Senate Bill 440 plans to do just this.
Pennsylvania education reporter Alex Geli for Lancaster Online writes about the plans for the bill. After one traditional snow days, schools with access to enough technology can have the five following snow days online. The bill has been passed by the Senate by a unanimous vote of 48-0, and is currently sitting in the Education Committee of the House as of May 13th.
Yet another proposed fix to the snow day system is to make days off from smaller holidays (such as Presidents’ Day) make up days as opposed to taking off of spring break. This solution, proposed by freshman Brooke Lehrman, still involves taking any extra snow days in summer, but it would make spring break itself longer than it is currently.
Lehrman, Oladipo, Collins, and multiple other sources estimated that the typical year has five snow days, one more than the four snow days the district builds into the calendar. The way the year is set up, spring break will almost always be shortened to two days. The school year rarely has no snow days; in Collins’ 25 years of teaching, she recalls only one instance of this in 2011 when there were flood days instead of snow days.
The best way to fix the snow day system is to contact those on the school board and the superintendent, Joseph McFarland, who can be emailed at [email protected]. Even going to a school board meeting to make a point can bring this problem to attention. Meeting times can be found on the District Homepage.