Snow days vs. virtual days

Virtual days are the newest form of learning at home during winter weather, replacing snow days.


Virtual learning is an online form of learning that includes assignments from teachers that are expected to be done the following day, or at a time set by the teacher. These days are replacing regular snow days throughout Bismarck Public Schools, as well as other schools around the country.

For high school students, there are mixed opinions on whether this should continue in the following years. Virtual learning gives students more days off because there are not any days to make up if school is not technically canceled. 

Some students prefer virtual days as it gives them a chance to catch up on homework that they may have, and is a break from school. On the other hand, some students fall behind on these days. 

Virtual days are seen as better by some students because there is nothing to make up, and they are able to get some much-needed sleep. The self-paced feel of virtual learning can be relaxing and beneficial because assignments are posted in the morning, allowing students to plan out their day however they would like. 

Students vary in work ethics, not everyone is going to thrive while working at home. Visual learners that need to see how to do an assignment can struggle because they are not in person for instructions and lectures. 

Students that are self-motivated and able to stay on track to successfully complete work, enjoy having time for themselves the rest of the day. Others that do not have the drive or attention span can struggle to keep up with the assignments for each class because it is easier to put off assignments and procrastinate all that needs to be done. 

Trying to learn at home requires self-discipline, meaning that students need to hold themselves accountable for the work they need to complete. Being at school gives students motivation to do their work because they know that it needs to be done at a specific time. When a child is at home and only sees the “Due at 11:59” on their screen, it does not always feel as important through their eyes. 

Not being able to immediately ask a question when confusion emerges creates a learning block that stops a student from completing an assignment. Teachers are there to respond to emails and video call with a student if needed, but it is not the most beneficial way of learning. 

Technical issues or lack of internet connection are other barriers to learning on virtual school days. Depending on the weather, students could be without power in their homes or do not have access to the internet while at home. 

Virtual learning helps with the amount of time students spend outside of school and reduces the number of days that they need to make up. All students have different learning styles that should be taken into consideration when planning to require children to continue schooling from home or have a snow day instead.