In the three and a half years I have been at Truman State University, the University’s consistent failure to declare snow days in the face of dangerous weather has always been a joke among students. We made light of the fact that Kirksville never adequately salted the sidewalks and roads as we tried to slide our way over the ice to get to class. In my experience, it has been more commonplace for professors to cancel their individual classes out of fear for their students’ safety than an official snow day from the University. I even remember hearing horror stories of people breaking bones trying to get up the hill to Barnett Hall.
On the rare occasions that Truman did declare a snow day, the student body would collectively sigh in relief and proceed to spend the day trying to catch up on homework. Personally, snow days were chances for me to get a little more ahead than my usual status of hanging on by my fingernails.
However, according to an email sent to students on Jan. 14, “As a result of the pandemic, we are prepared to switch to alternative modes of delivery at any time, if the need should arise. Given this ability, Truman will not be implementing ‘snow days’ during the spring 2021 semester that result in cancellation of classes. If it is determined that students, staff and faculty cannot travel to campus or navigate campus safely, classes cannot be offered safely due to weather conditions, course content on these days will be delivered via alternative means (e.g., via Zoom, assignments posted to Blackboard, pre-recorded content, etc.).”
So, in light of this new information, two opposing reactions came to mind. First, I realized that just as every other student here at Truman does, I pay to be here — I pay for these classes and everything that goes along with them. Thus, from a logical perspective, I should be grateful that the accessibility to my professors has been improved upon amid this global pandemic and I, as the paying, hard-working, stressed-out student, should take advantage of virtual resources even when walking outside means risking the structural integrity of my skeleton.
But, as I was trying to convince myself that this policy change was a good thing, I couldn’t ignore the fact that I like snow days. They have always given me a chance to catch my breath amid the hectic and demanding rigor of Truman’s curriculum. If nothing else, snow days bring about the joy that might not be felt in the same way again amongst TSU students, given the probability that this policy will continue once this semester ends. Because Truman has never wanted to give students snow days, I can’t shake the thought that this policy is just a convenient way for the University to excuse their refusal to do so.