Last week we had a blizzard. It coincided with the first day back for schools to resume in-person learning. Schools had been teaching remotely following the holiday. The day started out stormy with lots of fast-falling snow. The kind that you know is going to last for a while. A few hours later, it was declared a blizzard due to the high winds and white-out conditions.
Some school regions opted for a real snow day. One of those rare, unplanned days off in the winter. I remember those days fondly, waking up early to listen for closures on the radio. Then happily falling back into a cozy slumber before waking up to play in the snow all day. I’m sure my parents did not share my opinion. Though my father was a high school teacher, so maybe he also appreciated the “free” day.
Other school regions, however, opted to keep up the virtual learning for one more day. I felt sad for those students. Denied a “free” day off to be warm and cozy or to play in the fresh snow during daylight hours.
It was the same reality for us in the office. At one meeting someone mentioned the “snow day” for their kids. Somebody joked back, “I wish we had a snow day.” Suddenly a new aspect of working remotely all the time hit me. No snow days. We were like those kids in the unfortunate school regions that decided the students would “go” to school, no matter what.
Almost 20 years ago, when I lived in New York City, I recall struggling to get to work during a terrible snow storm. It wasn’t a blizzard, but it was a snow emergency. I rode the subway and plowed my way to work through drifts of snow up to my thighs at some points. When I arrived, the offices were closed. Nobody told me about the special hotline to call and check for these things. Twenty years ago, things were done differently. But we still got a snow day once in a while.
It seems those days are over. Even if we do return to the office on a more full-time basis, we all know we can switch to remote instantly. And for as long as necessary.