The absence of snow days affected the Drexel community this year as February began with two major snowstorms, during which most Philaldelphia businesses were closed. Drexel was no exception, with on-campus activities suspended, yet online classes continued as normal.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many students’ lives have changed over the last year. One of the most recent changes, new in this time of virtual learning, was the inability to disconnect from school and truly enjoy snow days. Drexel professors continued holding remote classes as normal and did not give students the day off, as instructed in the campus weather advisory issued by Drexel University on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. The shortened nine-week term, paired with the fast-paced atmosphere at Drexel, could be credited.
“One of the big losses of virtual learning is the presumed absence of snow days,” said a Drexel University professor, who asked to remain anonymous. “If you’re like me, a good snowstorm feels much like a holiday. We should treat it as such.”
The heavy workload, along with extreme winter weather conditions, likely would have looked different before the pandemic, but in the age of online learning, classes can take place even during less-than-ideal circumstances. Regardless, many students were seen outside, playing in the snow, going to The Philadelphia Art Museum or other locations, and snowboarding or sledding at numerous parks, according to a report by 6ABC Philadelphia.
Some Drexel students were affected by not having a few days off, which computer science student Janaki Nair said was largely an inconvenience.
“I had one professor [who] extended our deadlines because of the snow days, but that was pretty much it,” Nair said. “Honestly, it was less inconvenient this time around because everything was remote. If you are living on your own and go grocery shopping by yourself, snow days probably caused a pretty big inconvenience, so having no wiggle room from professors could definitely make it worse.”
However, some instructors did elect to give students a snow day, and it was a welcomed gesture.
“When it snowed, my professors made it feel like a sense of normalcy,” Entertainment Arts Management student Madeline Avarese said. “Even though I am home, I still have a lot of time to catch up on my school work, so that just meant more time for me and more time to relax.”
The School District of Philadelphia adopted the same technique as Drexel, according to NBC 10 Philadelphia. On-campus activities were cancelled, with students expected to attend classes virtually. As the age of remote learning continues amid the pandemic, snow days may continue to look this way for the time to come.