School cancellations affect students and classes

Mia DiLorenzo, freshman apprentice

On the night of Feb. 19, the students of Edina High School anxiously waited for the call that would announce a snow day. Meanwhile, many teachers were scrambling to prepare for a massive schedule change because of the numerous cancellations. While a snow day may be one of the most exciting parts of living in the Midwest, the consequences of missing the equivalent of one school week over the last two months created a burden on both the teachers and the students.

Due to the surprisingly large number of snow days this year, some teachers have had to adjust their schedules accordingly. AP U.S. History and AP U.S. Government teacher Mr. Anderson had to cancel a unit test and a class review. Despite that, he was able to utilize Schoology to send an at-home assignment over one of the severe weather days. “[Sending home a take-home FRQ] definitely helped with the snow days because we’ve reached a point where we just need to move on from [older material],” Anderson said.

In order to combat the loss of instructional time, Edina is exploring a new option that would allow students to participate in class without attending school through the E-Learning program. “[E-Learning] allows students to access Schoology and complete schoolwork that their teachers would have assigned on that day,” Edina Public Schools superintendent Dr. John Schultz said. The program would enable teachers to give their regularly scheduled lesson through the use of technology, minimizing the effect that the snow days would have on students’ workload.

However, some teachers are not able to assign certain material over snow days, creating a preparation burden on both the students and teachers. Some teachers lost a number of test prep days due to the inclement weather and have needed to push back unit tests to acclimate to the adjusted schedule.

Moreover, some AP students have lost preparation time for the AP exams in May. “We are fortunate that [AP Statistics] has a built-in review, but I know that some teachers are very worried about [the loss of time]. If you are teaching a class where the time happens to be tight and you don’t have built-in review time, you could be in trouble,” AP Statistics teacher Mr. Lenz said.

In addition to the lost test preparation time, students have become less accustomed to having a full five-day week. The new normal has become a four-day school week with little work to do. “[Students focusing in class] has definitely been an issue. It’s something that has been difficult to adjust to,” Lenz said.

This behavior may have some long term ramifications and impacts on grades. “Though I haven’t run a statistical analysis on [the impact of the days off on grades], there probably are some students in the population that are affected,” Lenz joked.

Whenever there are school cancellations due to inclement weather, there is always a possibility that the district will add on days to the end of the school year to meet the state requirements. While Edina does exceed the number of school days necessary, there is still a chance that days may be added toward the end of the year in the event of more cancellations. “If we have other snow days, then we would have to have the discussion [of adding more days]. But right now, we are within the state requirement,” Dr. Schultz said.

While the snow days do have some long-term effects on grades and classroom behavior, the break was welcomed by students and teachers alike.