DENVER — Instead of attending school Monday, students across the metro area were attending to the sledding hills with four major school districts calling for snow days.
"The decision to call a snow day was done in our usual process in consideration of weather, forecasts, road conditions and temperatures," Tammy Schiff, the chief communications officer for Jefferson County Schools wrote in an email. "It is not anything extraordinary."
Aurora, Jefferson County, Douglas County and Cherry Creek all declared snow days. When asked for comment, Jefferson County, Aurora and Douglas County said the criteria for snow days has not changed even during COVID-19 and the expanded use of remote learning.
"I was kind of shocked," said Ian Quaratino. "Yeah, really happy, but shocked."
Quaratino is an eighth-grade student who said he spent his snow day voluntarily shoveling his neighbors' driveways with his little brother. He said he did not expect a snow day Monday, now that students used are used to being online.
"I don't like school at all, but I think today should have been just remote," Quaratino said.
In Denver, that is what happened. Denver Public Schools announced Sunday night that all students would be learning remotely on Monday because of the bad weather conditions.
"To minimize lost instruction time for as many students as possible," said Winna Maclaren, the DPS media relations manager.
She said Denver students have lost 15 days of instruction time already dating back to the spring because of COVID-19.
"One day or one week, after a while that adds up," Maclaren said. "So, anything we can do to minimize the loss of learning, we want to be able to support our kids in doing so."
But, Maclaren said that does not mean that snow days in Denver are a thing of the past.
"We don't have a firm decision on whether or not snow days will be snow days or will switch to remote," Maclaren said.
Aurora is working on the decision as well. Corey Christiansen, the public information officer for Aurora Public Schools, said in an email, "We have created a joint task force with the Aurora Education Association to develop recommendations for snow days. Those recommendations haven't been made yet so we are operating under our existing snow day protocols."
When asked about snow days in Douglas County, public information officer Paula Hans released a statement:
"All weather decisions made by the Douglas County School District focus on student and staff safety. Today's weather and road conditions resulted in a snow day.
All of our elementary students, and half of our middle and high school students, were scheduled to be in school today. Due to the various learning models that DCSD currently has in place (full in-person for elementary, hybrid for secondary, as well as an eLearning option for all grades), we made the decision to make it a snow day for all students and staff.
During this challenging time with COVID-19, we will continue to evaluate our learning models and adjust as needed."
For now, snow days still exist. It's an idea Quaratino said he enjoys even if he doesn't necessarily agree with it.
"There's really no point in having a snow day if all you have to do is just stay at your house and then go remote," Quaratino said. "But, I'm glad it was a snow day."
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