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From Sleeping In and PJs to Virtual Class Days: The New Snow Day by Jadelyn Villa

As spring break kicks off and this year’s winter season comes to a close, it’s time to reflect on the sporadic weather patterns we’ve witnessed here in Northern New Jersey. There is no doubt it took a sudden bite within the last few weeks, but Passaic County Community College’s students and staff faced an unprecedented decision made by the school’s board; on February 13th, 2024, a snow day was replaced by an online remote school day for the first time, with classes taking place virtually on zoom. 

The virtualization of education is a relatively new idea, being truly enforced upon our generation with the 2020 pandemic we all know too well. The slow integration of sites like Canvas and Blackboard into the classrooms and school-issued laptops caught attention but in a good way. While taking time to adjust, students around the globe adapted to this change extremely well; many even grew to appreciate this system more than the previous one. However, with this remote school day challenging the fundamentals of the snow day we all know and love, I was curious to hear the thoughts of my fellow peers.

I went around the Paterson campus and interviewed a few students on their opinions of the new virtual snow day. One student, Brianna Ureña, expressed her appreciation for the concept.

“It was a very last-minute change, but after going through my entire first year of high school online it wasn’t too bad. If I’m being honest I did enjoy it, it wasn’t very different from learning in class physically.” 

She made a good point on the impromptu aspect, saying, “I think it’s a good idea for last-minute emergencies like weather, definitely.”

However, other students contemplated the disadvantages. SGA Vice President Tiffany Guerrero gave a statement, arguing, “I have mixed feelings on going to a virtual day. The good part about it is the class is not behind on work and right on schedule so in the class, the professor is not rushing to finish the lesson we missed. The bad part is during the class in Zoom, no one wants to participate, and the professor doesn’t really have that engagement with students.”

A comparison to the COVID-19 pandemic was made, with Guerrero claiming, “In my opinion, I don’t really like it through Zoom because I’m a person that learns and pays attention in person. Even if I was a student who learned through Zoom during COVID times, I just don’t like to go back to Zoom classes ever again… I think the professor should have an option to do a class or not.” English Professor and Visions Advisor Christine Waldeyer also commented on the relation to the pandemic, testifying that one of her students told her they would rather take the absence than “go back to COVID.” 

There’s no doubt the pandemic shifted our perception of online learning; the idea of even one class over Zoom brings me back to the depressing monotony of lockdown for a lot of students, including myself. I think the elimination of classic snow days is certainly an interesting decision going forward, and I am curious to see what this means for the future of technological integration when it comes to education.

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