They’re trying to take snow days away from NJ kids (Opinion)
Before the pandemic came along, no one ever thought about kids learning from home on laptops. Well, almost no one.
Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle did. In 2016 and 2018 she introduced legislation that would allow for as many as three days of virtual home instruction in the event of weather-related school closures or other emergencies.
The bill went nowhere.
COVID-19 changed all that and while students and parents for the most part hate it, we are now quite familiar with it. The allowance of virtual learning came about in March of 2020 and lasted the entire 2020/2021 school year through executive order by Gov. Murphy.
As things got back to normal this school year (OK, OK, new normal) virtual was only being allowed under specific circumstances and not allowed for inclement weather.
There's a push to change that. A committee put together by the New Jersey Association of School Administrators met in November drafting a proposal to present in Trenton during this month's legislative session. If adopted it could mean the death of snow days for kids.
It's practical. It's pragmatic. And it's a terrible idea.
Can we consider leaving childhood alone and allow kids their occasional snow day?
Are you old enough that you never once thought about school shootings when you were a kid? I am. Nor did we go to school in a time of a pandemic with so much stress and isolation. Even back then, the snow day was a gift from heaven. We flushed ice cubes down toilets and stayed glued to our local radio stations listening for our town's name. When it happened it was like winning the lottery. It was affirmation that childhood was special. Even then being a kid wasn't easy. Imagine how much harder it is now.
Snow days aren't the end of the world. The 180-day rule will still be accounted for. And because virtual education is sorely lacking, those 180 days will be quality days. The magic a snow day can put back into a kid's soul is being forgotten in these discussions. If there were ever a time children could use a little more magic it's now.
You know, there's a not well-known song by the Rolling Stones called "Indian Girl" in which there's a line that says "life just goes on and on getting harder and harder." That's how it feels sometimes once you leave childhood behind. Can we consider leaving childhood alone and allow kids their occasional snow day? Life in New Jersey will be tough enough later on. Let them have this.
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.
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