With cold winter weather challenging schools again this year, the study published last year by researchers from Harvard University is reassuring: closing schools for weather won’t hurt student learning ability.
The Massachusetts Department Education requested the study after last year’s record breaking winter cold. The results showed that keeping schools open during a storm or weather emergency is more damaging to learning than a school closure.
Student data from 2003 to 2010 was examined by Joshua Goodman, an assistant professor in Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He found that snow days level the playing field. When some students are at school and some at home is the situation that is difficult to make up a difference in learning.
“With slack time in the schedule, the time lost to closure can be regained,” Goodman wrote. “Student absences, however, force teachers to expend time getting students on the same page as their classmates.”