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To Close or Not to Close: Snow Days and Student Learning

Most districts in Connecticut have had plenty of snow days in recent weeks and there’s a good chance we’ll see more this winter. Sometimes canceling school is an easy call, but on days when the forecast isn’t clear superintendents can struggle with the right call.

A study by Harvard Kennedy School Assistant Professor Joshua Goodman provides some data on the subject. Goodman examined the effect of snow days on student learning and found, contrary to what some might think, that holding classes when it snows is more detrimental to learning than closing school for the day.

Goodman said that administrators “‘need to consider the downside when deciding NOT to declare a snow day during a storm — the fact that many kids will miss school regardless either because of transportation issues or parental discretion. And because those absences typically aren’t made up in the school calendar, those kids can fall behind.'”

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