A lack of snow days this year disappoints students; however, predictions suggest that heavier snow is still possible

by Sophie Yang, ’19

This winter’s mild polar vortex and weak El Niño have brought a temperate, snowless climate to central Ohio. As a result, there have been no snow days in the school year so far, leaving many students unsatisfied.

Sophomore Savannah Stearmer is among those students.

“I’ve been sad that there’s been [almost] no snow,” Stearmer said. “[On a snow day] I think it’s relaxing and nice to wake up and not have to do anything.”

In fact, Upper Arlington’s Chief Operating Officer Chris Potts said that there have not been any days this year when a snow day was almost called.

According to Chris Potts, the school district considers safety the most when deciding whether a snow day will be called.

“Each situation is unique, and we evaluate all factors before making the decision,” Potts said. “Both this year and last year, we have been fortunate to not have severe weather with lots of snow and ice, and so we have not had any close calls yet this year.”

Both this year and last year, we have been fortunate to not have severe weather with lots of snow and ice, and so we have not had any close calls yet this year.

Chief Operating Officer Chris Potts

While snow days have been scarce in the past two years, many students remember the blizzards and harsh wind chills in the 2013-14 winter. The severe weather caused too many snow days, which led administrators to develop a blizzard bag system. When school was canceled, every teacher was required to give additional “blizzard bag” assignments to their classes.

Stearmer, who was in 7th grade at the time, believes that this system wasn’t effective.

“My teacher had told us to go watch this video [and] they didn’t use it in class at all after that,” Stearmer said. “It was essentially just [that] we were required to do it because our school told us [to].”

Now, if school is canceled, students won’t necessarily use a blizzard bag system. However, some teachers would likely assign homework over Schoology in order to keep classes on track.

Also unlike before, districts can now measure their maximum number of snow days in hours rather than days. For UAHS, that means students need to be in class for at least 1,001 hours each year. Since the district schedules more than 1,001 hours, school can be canceled for a number of days if the weather is too dangerous.

Though snow days are certainly possible, the question of whether there will be enough snow is still up for debate.

Last year in 2016, many weather stations had generated predictions for this winter’s weather, observing factors like wind patterns and arctic snow. According to weather.com’s “winter outlook” last October, meteorologists there had expected average temperatures but above-average precipitation.

Another prediction, posted in December by the Kentucky-based WHAS-TV station, projected that there would be more rain than usual this winter. They also predicted that more arctic air in late winter would cause more snow in February. If this prediction holds true, students could look forward to school cancellations in the next month.