At the beginning of the semester, Truman State University announced it will no longer have “snow days,” or days where the University cancels all classes on campus due to inclement weather. The University stated in their announcement that with the implementation of online classes, like Zoom, professors should be prepared to move their classes online as they see fit.
Of course my colleague, Julie Thomassen, wrote about this in our last issue. In that piece, she brought up the nostalgic and stress relieving benefits of our classic snow days. While I recognize those issues, I think there are bigger problems as well.
From watching my friends clean off their cars just to drive on icy roads, to deciding whether it is safer to walk or drive to campus and more tough decisions, I have noticed that not all professors are moving classes online like suggested in the University announcement. Ideally, professors would notice the inclement weather and move their own classes online without needing the University to tell them to. Some professors are strict about their in-person schedule and use the excuse of “if i am required to be here, so are you,” forcing their students to make the trek to campus on what would have been labeled a “snow day” a year ago.
While I think the announcement had good intentions, like Thomassen said, we do pay for these classes and need to take that financial aspect into account. But the lack of snow days is forcing students, faculty and staff into dangerous situations. Snow days were meant to protect more than just students, like the Sodexo workers who struggle commuting to work early in the morning during a snowstorm. The University should change its new stance on snow days, and move them to online days, requiring professors to move classes online and allowing faculty, students and non-essential staff to stay safe at home.