No more Zoom, bring back snow days


For as sedentary as it makes us, Zoom has made us forget the importance of rest.

This week, Trinity announced that students would attend class virtually due to inclement weather on Tuesday, Jan. 31 until noon on Wednesday, Feb. 1. Some professors made the right decision that the university could not: cancel classes.

After Zoom and other online meeting platforms took off during the pandemic, students began to wonder if this useful tool would be here to stay. Would we have to log into class remotely when we’re sick? Would “snow days” be doomed from here on out?

The answer, generally, is yes.

New York City schools were one of the largest examples this year of districts eliminating snow days in favor of online learning when the weather makes travel dangerous. Many school officials apparently forgot what we learned during the pandemic. No one does well, physically or mentally, after hours on Zoom. Not only does active learning take a nosedive, but the concept of a day off is out of reach when our work finds us in our bedrooms, living rooms and other personal spaces.

Pre-COVID and Zoom normalization, Trinity would’ve had no choice but to cancel classes if conditions were too icy. And both students and professors would’ve been fine. Some students this week witnessed professors attempt to adapt things like group discussions and presentations to Zoom with great difficulty, often wasting time rather than using it effectively to stay on schedule. Some classes, especially cut-and-dry lectures, weren’t a problem to conduct virtually. Some professors canceled class altogether, uploading materials for the next class on T-Learn and letting students have a day off.

When polled, 81% of our staff said they would rather the university cancel classes than shift to virtual learning. Besides spring break, we only have one more day off until the end of the semester, and this is one of the more dreary stretches for everyone in education to endure. It’s only natural to take a break when the world outside our window takes one too; even the tree branches have to stop reaching toward the sky when they’re quietened and weighed down with coats of glistening, delicate ice.

Let us all do better to resist the urge to be productive at all costs, and maybe the rest of our university will catch on. We may be a “yes” school, but valuing campus and individual wellness means we have to be able to say “no” sometimes. A new day — sans ice — will come. If Trinity could cancel two week’s worth of class last January to accommodate Omicron, they can give us one snow day.