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The Snow Day Incident

February 18th, 2021


Dear Mrs. McNutt,


Good evening. I hope this email finds you in good health. I first off wanted to commend you on your actions in exploring every possible avenue to make sure that students this year are able to experience their education in our building. Too many have greatly underestimated the value of having this opportunity, but I am happy to inform you that this move has not gone unnoticed. In short: I am very happy with the privilege to attend school in person. Nevertheless I w anted to write to you about our current policy regarding snow days.


The one part of the program that is a seemingly necessary evil is the “virtual” aspect of our learning. Though this undoubtedly helps students to retain a constant day-to-day schedule and helps teachers to maintain a consistent pacing of their curriculum, it is an unquestionably hard obstacle to adapt to. It’s incredibly difficult to focus. It requires a certain drive for students to be able to commit themselves fully to this new method of education, which is why I value the days I can be in the building so highly. Though it may be somewhat taxing to sit in front of a screen all day with 5 minute breaks in between classes, we recognize that those in school are doing the same for us when they’re at home.


However, this method of justification in reference to an all-virtual schedule on a snow day doesn’t seem to apply. When I first read Bishop Ireton’s policy on snow days, I felt it was somewhat extreme. After last year’s total lack of snow to begin with, this year’s policies have limited our ability to enjoy the snow to a abysmal three days before students are forced to chain themselves to their glowing rectangles of death while soft flakes of ice float down from above, mocking them with their beauty. What is an unfortunate reality of our current technological generation is the fact that “snow days” are on the decline. It seems almost inevitable, since our society has been forced to establish a school system that doesn’t require a building, that “snow days” will become a thing of the past. It’s truly a tragedy, as many will grow up without the drive to catch a snowflake on their tongue or to sled down a local hill, as they will be far to tired due to their energy-draining education machines. While I understand that we want to retain a constant education stream, forcing students to stare at their battery-powered youth tranquilizers for hours on end -- robbing them of the motive to build a snowman and to feel like a child for what little time they have left is hardly the route I recommend.


Though this isn’t where my true grievance lies. I take issue with the fact that the three snow days we were promised to begin with have been cheated out of us. Though February 1st and 2nd were proper and undeniable snow days, December 16th, 2020 does not fall under that umbrella. Yes, the school meant to be held that day was not held on that day due to inclement weather. However, the events to be held were hardly canceled, they were simply delayed. Students lost a day of their beloved Christmas Vacation in order to experience the dreaded completeness of their midterm exams. This was not a “snow day” and should not apply to the current policy. The amount of days spent in school last semester remained unchanged. As a result, I believe that February 18th’s inclement weather day should be regarded as a full school closure day, rather than one where we must once again die a little in service of “education.”


In the chance that we do not receive another snow day, I believe it would be appropriate, seeing as we missed a day of winter break for our precious exams, to have a ceremonial day off aptly named “Hashbrown Day.”


Sincerely,

Hashbrown


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Will,


Thank you for sharing your concerns. I think you see this as a ‘Mrs. McNutt decision” or Bishop Ireton policy, but alas, it is not. We have state and diocesan requirements for instructional hours, which include the days in December. Our snow days have been used and we are fortunate that the virtual days keep us from adding additional days onto the calendar in March or April (taking away non-instructional week days). The good news is that you don’t have to deal with a full day schedule. At most, you have four instructional hours to put in - no teacher is providing more than 60 minutes, and depending on the teacher, that may even be reduced time. I look forward to the snow myself, and will definitely be enjoying it amidst my work breaks throughout the day.


I am cc’ing Mrs. Jordan and your counselor, Mr. O’Hara on this to make sure that you have some support during the day if needed. I certainly hope you enjoy the snow ~


Stay well,


Mrs. McNutt


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Dear Dr. Vorbach,


Good afternoon. I hope this email finds you in good health. I am a student at Bishop Ireton High School and I wanted to write to you regarding the diocese’s current policy regarding snow days.


In terms of bringing students back into the building in order to provide them with the most “normal” education possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, I wanted to note that Bishop Ireton has done a remarkably good job. I, myself, have benefited greatly from the ability to attend school in person both spiritually and emotionally. However, I was surprised by the announcement of Ireton’s cold weather policy, which grants students an abysmal three days before they are forced to chain themselves to their glowing rectangles of death while soft flakes of ice float down from above, mocking them with their beauty.


What’s even more egregious is the fact that the snow days that we had scheduled, however few there were, have been cheated out of us. Though February 1st and 2nd were proper and undeniable snow days, December 16th, 2020 does not fall under that umbrella. Yes, the school meant to be held that day was not held on that day due to inclement weather. However, the events to be held were hardly canceled, they were simply delayed. In order to experience the dreaded completeness of their midterm exams, students were forced to sacrifice a day of their beloved Christmas Vacation. This was not a “snow day” and should not apply to the current policy. The amount of days spent in school last semester remained unchanged.


As a result, I write to you so that, should there be another day where Bishop Ireton High school is closed due to inclement weather, that we use our final snow day properly and have the full day off of school.


Sincerely,

William Gotten


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Good afternoon,


Thank you for your email. I have shared it with the appropriate member of our office.


Many thanks,


Brietta Haynes


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Will,


I want to make sure that you understand the diocesan portion - - the diocese and the state provide all schools with required hours and days to complete each year, even if there are snow days attached. Once we go beyond a number, we have to begin making them up in various ways. Snow days aren’t just a open pass, as we all wish they were! Keep in mind that Bishop Ireton has missed a couple other days due to the loss of our loved classmates. All of that impacts the decisions that we can make. You can certainly reach out to the diocese, though. They do determine instructional days and numbers and ultimately decide the number of snow days that we get!


Have a safe and enjoyable day - - even with classes intermixed!

Peace,

Mrs. McNutt


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Dear William,


Thank you for your email. I was pleased to hear you report that you feel that Bishop Ireton has done a remarkably good job in trying to help you and your classmates have as “normal” a year as possible. I have some insight into how incredibly hard the administration and teachers have worked, from Mrs. McNutt on down, to make the school safe for in-person instruction. They continue to do this every day in the dynamic COVID environment.


As to the snow day issue, I encourage you, if you have not done so already, to take the matter up with the school administration.


Praying for you and your classmates as you continue your studies during this challenging time.


Sincerely in Christ,

Dr. Vorbach


p.s. You seem to have a flair for the creative in your writing and I encourage you to keep refining that talent.


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Dear Mrs. McNutt,


I reached out to the superintendent, Dr. Vorbech, and he encouraged that I take this matter up with you. Once again my case concerns the fact that December 16th should not be counted as a snow day. I hope we can find a way to accurately reflect to amount of snow days proposed in the schedule.


Sincerely,

Hashbrown


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Yes, Will, he had let me know of your email. There is no change in snow count by the state or diocese, so our count won’t change and there won’t be an adjustment to the schedule. If you have any issues though with classes, don’t hesitate to reach out to your counselor or Mrs. Jordan.


Peace,

Mrs. McNutt


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