With the COVID-19 pandemic making virtual learning the new normal, many have feared that the beloved childhood tradition of snow days might be a thing of the past.
But in Jefferson County, West Virginia, snow day anticipation is here to stay.
Ahead of a snowstorm threatening the county back in December, Jefferson County superintend Dr. Bondy Shay Gibson issued a heartfelt letter with thoughtful reasoning for cancelling online classes for a snow day.
“For generations, families have greeted the first snow day of the year with joy,” she wrote. “A reminder of how fleeting a childhood can be. An opportunity to make some memories with your family that you hold onto for life.”
Acknowledging the stress and burden of 2020, Gibson announced that school would be closed for students, virtual learning, and staff in honor of the first snow day of the school year.
“It has been a year of seemingly endless loss and the stress of trying to make up for that loss,” she continued. “For just a moment, we can all let go of the worry of making up for the many things we have missed by making sure this is one thing our kids won’t lose this year.”
She closed her letter with a warm encouragement to parents, students, and staff:
“So please, enjoy a day of sledding and hot chocolate and cozy fires. Take pictures of your kids in snow hats they will outgrow by next year and read books that you have wanted to lose yourself in, but haven’t had the time. We will return to the serious and urgent business of growing up on Thursday, but for tomorrow… go build a snowman.”
Gibson later told TODAY parents that closing school was a no brainer. She herself spent the snow day having fun with her 14-year-old son.
“I understand how overwhelmed these kids are and how difficult the pandemic has been for them. They’ve lost all of these pieces of their childhood that they won’t get back,” Gibson said. “This is something we can give them and give ourselves.”
Since first sharing the letter on the school district’s Facebook page, Gibson’s heartfelt words have been shared more than 66,000 times on Facebook, and drawn praise from parents across the country who appreciate the sentiment.
“Ok, this made me cry a little,” one commenter wrote. “Perfect. Just absolutely, perfect,” wrote another.