A winter storm in the Twin Cities will no longer deliver the possibility of a carefree day without class for Minneapolis Public School students.
In an e-mail to families on Wednesday, the district announced that if severe weather closes the school buildings, teachers will host a day of distance learning.
A "snow day" will look much like what a school day has for the last several months. The possibility of learning in pajamas with a mug of hot cocoa has been a reality for Minneapolis students since distance learning began at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last spring.
The new policy is a part of an e-learning plan the Minneapolis school board approved earlier this year. The superintendent will continue to consider the safety of students and staff, the severity and timing of the weather, and the ability for buses and cars to travel to and from school when making a decision about whether to close buildings.
The Wednesday e-mail to parents acknowledged the joy that some students experience when finding out they can spend their day in a snow fort rather than a classroom.
"We know everyone has opinions on whether or not schools should close when the weather gets bad," the e-mail read.
In ending snow days, Minneapolis joins other Minnesota districts that have turned to online learning instead of a wintry day off in recent years.
In 2014, Farmington schools implemented flexible learning days when the schools closed for several days in January due to a bitter cold spell. The students logged onto their district-provided iPads and continued learning in order to prevent having to tack days onto the end of the school year.
One school district in New Jersey has taken an opposite stand on snow days during the pandemic. In a statement issued last month, administrators vowed to continue calling off school during bad weather.
"We have decided that few childhood acts remain unchanged due to COVID-19 and we will maintain the hope of children by calling actual snow days," the Mahwah Township Public School District was quoted as saying. "Snow days are chances for on-site learners and virtual learners to just be kids by playing in the snow, baking cookies, reading books and watching a good movie."
Mara Klecker • 612-673-4440