COLUMBIA, Mo. — While Missouri lawmakers had the week off due to snow and arctic temperatures, snow days are a thing of the past at the state’s largest university.
As kids, one of the best reasons we all loved the snow – no school. But in Mizzou, there are no more snow days, and the university says it’s thanks to the pandemic.
“That’s probably how we will operate for the foreseeable future,” said Mizzou communications director Christian Basi. “If we’re only talking about a few days, a very temporary situation, doing a distance learning course is a very doable thing.”
It was a quiet Friday on the Mizzou campus. Besides the sound of a snow plow or the scraping of a shovel, a lone snowman sat in the middle of campus as the bundled up students hurried from place to place.
“Working from home helps us maintain the educational mission and the semester with as little disruption as possible,” Basi said. “If we miss too many days, in some cases we have to make them up.”
The university made the decision on Monday to have the campus community work remotely on Wednesday and Thursday. Thursday afternoon, Mizzou also called in-person learning for Friday.
“The private shuttles that service many of the city’s student apartments were struggling not only to get around in the snow, but also to maintain operations due to the cold,” Basi said.
About 10,000 students live off campus in apartments, Basi said, but in those remote days, the 6,000 students living on campus still have access to dining halls.
“If public schools are canceled or if we have other cancellations within the community, we know that puts a strain on many of our employees who have children at home who need supervision,” said Basi.
Columbia Public Schools and the Jefferson City School District, the two largest districts in central Missouri, canceled Wednesday through Friday.
For the second year, the University of Missouri is making snow days a thing of the past. Students are disappointed that they no longer have school holidays in the winter.
“I feel old,” said Lecie Pagel, a freshman at Mizzou. “It’s like a thing of the past, like you remember when we had snow days?” It will be a bit sad.
With freezing temperatures forecast, students are hunkered down inside.
“It was kind of funny, the first night there were kids running around the streets having snowball fights and all that, but other than that, no because there was still class” , said Amber Houle, rookie of Mizzou. “Kindly miss out on all the nostalgic feeling when you can’t completely leave school.”
Pagel and her friend Caroline Martin, both from the St. Louis area and graduates of Marquette High School, wanted to go sledding but said that with no hills in Mizzou and no schoolwork to do in inside, they couldn’t go.
“In high school we had snow days and we would go sledding and everything, but today we just stayed in my study room and did our homework,” Martin said. “I wish we didn’t have virtual days, I was just a pure snow day.”
Pagel, an accounting major, said it was easy to switch from in-person learning on Tuesdays to virtual Wednesdays.
“They adapted it more, especially being used to COVID last year, it was super easy to say, get on the Zoom at 12:30,” Pagel said.
Houle, of Richmond, Illinois, said she was used to snow.
“The roads were horrible,” Houle said. “I think I would have been here actually, like making a snowman, but instead I was in bed doing classes,” Houle said.
Switching classes and working online could save the university from having to make up days at the end of the semester, Basi said. With students not showing up to a class in person, crews were able to clear roads and sidewalks more quickly.
Students will return to in-person classes and lawmakers will be back in Jefferson City on Monday.
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