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Big Surprise for Virtual Students After Big Snow

W. Va. school district cancels remote classes to let students, staff just enjoy the day
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 17, 2020 9:30 AM CST

(Newser) – Do you want to build a snowman? Thanks to a West Virginia school district, Anna and Elsa weren't the only ones donning their hats and gloves Wednesday to frolic in the snow after Winter Storm Gail slammed the East Coast. Jefferson County Schools could have still made kids go to class after the nor'easter dumped a heap of the white stuff in the area: The district shifted to all-remote classes last month due to the pandemic. On Tuesday, however, it decided to give all students and staff Wednesday off to decompress and enjoy the day—and not just due to the weather, per CBS News. "It has been a year of seemingly endless loss and the stress of trying to make up for that loss," Superintendent Bondy Shay Gibson wrote in a note to the community. "For just a moment, we can all let go of the worry of making up for the many things we missed by making sure this is one thing our kids won't lose this year."

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Gibson tells WDVM that the first day off from school due to snow each season is "special," and that the decision to cancel school for the day was an attempt to refocus on kids' mental health during a tough year. "They've lost a chunk of their childhood that they won't get back," she says. "And you could either be sad about that ... or you can ... help give them some happy memories to balance that out." NBC Washington notes that parents and kids alike cheered the decision, and the district posted photos Thursday morning of children taking advantage of their day off. "Take pictures of your kids in snow hats they will outgrow by next year and read books that you have wanted to lose yourself in, but haven't had the time," Gibson wrote in her letter. "We will return to the serious and urgent business of growing up on Thursday, but for tomorrow ... go build a snowman." (Read more snow day stories.)

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