West Virginia school district gives snow day so kids, families can ‘make memories’


The coronavirus has taken away a lot in 2020, but for students and teachers in one West Virginia district, the virus can’t take away the first snow day of the year. 

On Tuesday afternoon, Jefferson County Schools published a letter saying that its schools would be totally closed on Wednesday for the first snow day of the year. 

The letter, signed by Superintendent Dr. Bondy Shay Gibson, said that the day off would be a chance for families to enjoy time together after a year of “seemingly endless loss.”

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“For generations, families have greeted the first snow day of the year with joy,” Gibson wrote. “It is a time of renewed wonder at all the beautiful things that each season holds. A reminder of how fleeting a childhood can be. An opportunity to make some memories with your family that you hold to for life.

“For all of these reasons and many more, Jefferson County Schools will be completely closed for tomorrow, Dec. 16, in honor of the 1st snow day of the year,” Gibson added. 

That closure included virtual learning.

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“It has been a year of seemingly endless loss and the stress of trying to make up for that loss,” the superintendent wrote. “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 ended her letter by encouraging families to enjoy their day off with sledding and hot chocolate.

Jefferson County School Superintendent Dr. Bondy Shay Gibson told parents and staff to enjoy a day off on the first snow day of the year. (iStock)

Jefferson County School Superintendent Dr. Bondy Shay Gibson told parents and staff to enjoy a day off on the first snow day of the year. (iStock)

“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,” she wrote. “We will return to the serious and urgent business of growing up on Thursday, but for tomorrow… go build a snowman.”

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The letter, which was posted on Facebook, quickly went viral, with more than 54,000 shares and more than 16,000 reactions. 

Commenters on the letter praised the school district for its “excellent leadership.”

“Beautifully and eloquently stated,” one woman wrote. 

Another person called it a “great decision.”

“Such a heartfelt message,” someone else said. “Made me smile.”

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However, despite the continued snow this week, students and teachers in Jefferson County will be back to learning virtually on Thursday, the district said in a notice on its website. 

“Thank you for the overwhelming response to our first snow day of the year,” the notice said. “Your stories and pictures from the time you spent with family and friends reminded everyone at Jefferson County Schools why we do what we do.

“We hope the joy and grace shared today will remain with all of us into the holiday season and beyond,” it added, in part. “As for tomorrow, Thursday, Dec. 17, all students and staff will work remotely.”



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