Snow days are a form of weather-related cancellation when a school or other organization is forced to shut down temporarily due to the onset of problematic, clearly unsafe, or even life-threatening weather.
If you live in an area where five feet of snow is a common wintertime occurrence, your district might not announce a one-day shutdown just because a little snow is falling. Indeed, snow-prone districts are more likely to be located in cities or towns that have sufficient snow plows to keep roads reasonably clear. Also, such districts routinely add additional days to the end of each academic year — beyond the number of days their state requires — to use as snow days. If the snow days aren't needed, the kids get a little extra instruction at year's end; and if snow days are needed, they're available for immediate usage.
However, if you live in an area where it's warm seven months of the year and the idea of snowfall in winter is a little farfetched, if a snowstorm hits your district is likely to declare a snow day and shut down the schools. Where snow isn't expected, snow-clearing equipment is in short supply or nonexistent. Nor have additional snow days been factored into the school year; therefore teachers and students will eventually have to make up all snow days.
Any district will declare a snow day if blizzards render the roads impassable. Even in a place like Monmouth County, New Jersey, where winter snowstorms are a way of life, two snow days were declared on May 13 and 14, 2007, when blizzards turned roads into an “ice skating rink,” according to the local Atlantic Herald newspaper.
If it's snowing when you wake up in the morning, check your favorite radio station or television news program to learn if there is an official announcement of a snow day for your district. If you hear nothing and you've received no phone calls from your school, check your school's website on your home computer. If you still see nothing, assume the schools are open and get moving; but drive carefully — your students need you in one piece.
Under a different scenario, if everyone's at school on a particular day and the weather gradually worsens to the point where your district declares a snow day, stay calm — even if you get snowed in. Certain jobs, such as teaching, require employees to carefully weigh the safety of other people against their own safety. You've got kids who are depending on you to get them through the snow day unharmed; if you panic, who will safeguard your students? If you run away screaming, who will parents trust to protect their children?
Maintain your cool. If your school becomes snowed in, realize that the outside world is doing everything it can to get you and the kids out safely; but you'll have to be patient. If you're required to stay overnight with the kids, cheer up. Realize that you're a hero and you're doing more for your fellow humans than most people get to do in a lifetime.