Snow Day Repercussions for ASD


A giant mountain of snow sits in the West parking lot, a result of the nearly four feet of snow accumulated in December.

As December 2022 came to a close, Anchorage School District staff and students were left reeling from endless disruptions to planned lessons, finals, sports and school activities due to an unprecedented six snow days over a two-week period. 

The six closure days in December and the one from November total seven closure days thus far. The district calendar is built with a possible three days for weather closures, so four days will have to be made up in order for ASD to meet state requirements. 

Students and parents alike were wondering how these days would be made up and many have strong opinions on the matter. There were only a few options: adding days to the school calendar in May; turning the remaining in-service days into school days; or adding minutes to the school day. 

Additionally, the school district could have asked for a waiver from the state, which was granted after the earthquake in November 2019. The district has chosen to add one instructional day in lieu of parent/teacher conferences in February as well as add 30 minutes to the school day for three weeks, beginning January 30. 

West High junior Mariah Block thinks the snow days were beneficial to high school students and says, “Honestly, I don’t think we should [make up the school days].” Block says that having no school “frees up my day significantly; I can work on homework that I need to turn in and relax without worry.” 

Carri Elfstrom, a math teacher at West, agrees with Block. “I do not think it is necessary to add more minutes or extra days at the end of the semester.” Elfstrom thinks “after having gone through the pandemic, a few missed days are nothing really to worry about!”

Elsa Boots, a fourth grader at Aquarian Charter School thought the amount of snow days “was a little ridiculous.” So ridiculous that Boots wrote an email to the superintendent of the Anchorage School District, Dr. Jharret Bryant, acknowledging that some roads were dangerous but pointing out that “for some kids, school is the safest place” and that some parents can’t work if they have to take care of their children. 

Boots thinks that instead of having so many snow days in a row, there could have been excused absences, saying “you fall behind, and now we’re seeing the consequences of that because there is going to be an added 30 minutes to every day of school.” 

Boots also believes that the school district should have been more prepared for distance learning after the Covid-19 pandemic. Elementary students were not given chromebooks like middle and high schoolers at the beginning of the year. “They could’ve handed out chromebooks just to be prepared . . . [remote learning] is better than just having 30 minutes of extra school every day,” Boots concluded.

With the school year only halfway over, and much of winter left before us, let’s hope Mother Nature doesn’t throw any more snow days our way!