Winter Break 2021: A Storm of Snow and Omicron

Between extra snow days and the COVID-19 variant, Omicron, breaking out, this year’s winter break was one to remember.

Winter break provides students and teachers with some relief from school, allowing them to relax, unwind, and destress. It also provides an opportunity for students and staff to spend time with family and friends. However, this year was a bit different with Omicron, which spreads very easily. Omicron caused lots of people’s plans to be changed or canceled for the holidays.

Jonathan Jiloca Jr, a sophomore at Centennial, talked about his winter break experience. “Covid didn’t impact any of my winter break plans,” Jiloca said. “I still was able to talk to friends over the internet and was able to play games with them.”

The extra snow days allowed people who had gotten COVID to recover before returning to school. COVID has spiked across the United States due to the holidays, as a similar pattern was seen following Thanksgiving. The extra snow days helped ease everyone back into the workflow before a full week of school. 

Owen Benedict, a sophomore at Centennial, stated, “Over winter break I played games and hung out with my family. Luckily COVID didn’t have a huge effect on our plans, but it was definitely a threat because we wanted our grandparents to visit.” 

COVID had more of an effect on Benedict than Jiloca because Benedict couldn’t see his grandparents. “During our extra snow days I went sledding with my friends and played more videogames,” Benedict added. “Usually on snow days I just go sledding but I also hang out with my sister and play in the snow with her too.”

Rus VanWestervelt, an English teacher for grades 10 and 12 at Centennial, exclaimed, “I had plans to go out of state and see friends but both their family and our family decided that it’d be a bad idea to do that because of COVID exposures.”  

VanWestervelt ended up spending a restful time at home over break, but was affected a lot by COVID because he, similar to many people, wasn’t able to see friends due to concern of the virus. 

He also noted that snow days can be challenging for a teacher; “I always make sure I’m prepared because I feel like if I ever make the assumption that we’re not going to have school and then we will and then I’ll go in unprepared and I don’t like that either.” 

It’s always nice when teachers consider the student’s perspective and VanWestervelt does so with snow days; “I want my students to enjoy the time when it is snowing. You know we’re going to have to make up the day anyway so it’s not like we’re supposed to be doing stuff on that day, just add it to the end of the calendar.”

In addition, he elaborated about what he does on snow days; “Our grandson lives with us and so it’s like having the joy of fresh snow in the yard all over again.”  

VanWestervelt is experiencing the fun of a snow day through his grandson, which doesn’t seem too different from Benedict sledding. Snow days should be taken as a fun surprise. Vanwestervelt summed it up nicely, stating, “Look at it as a gift right? Cause I know we’re going to have to make it up anyway later so you might as well just enjoy the day off.”


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