The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

Mr. Lewis talks Snow Days


Snow Days have always been a special part of a students school experience. No matter what grade, be it in primary school, middle school, or high school, students have shared the mutual excitement of waking up to a snow covered city and taking a day off school.

Snow day are so exciting because of “the uncertainty and unexpectedness that comes with the day off” says junior Giorgio Zampaglione. With the surprise comes a day free of obligations, a full day to spend however you like. While some opt to spend the day indoors, watching movies and sipping hot chocolate, others choose to find the best sledding hill to conquer. Some, like Junior Lorenzo Amorosino says try to take advantage of the snow by shoveling neighbors steps for extra pocket money.


In the past, WIS has followed Arlington County when making decisions about snow days. However, beginning this year, WIS has chosen to make snow day decisions independently. Clayton Lewis, the Head of School, revealed that the decision came after two years in which Arlington County took an extremely liberal position, and when it did not snow, WIS ended up being the only school in DC that was closed.

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With WIS now being responsible for making the call on their own, Mr. Lewis explained that after a snowstorm, he will be on a conference call at five o’clock in the morning with heads of other local schools. By getting up to date feedback on the roads, he hopes the collective decision about whether to close the school will be both the safest and most logical. However, Mr Lewis made it clear that WIS is not bound by the decisions of other local schools.

Photo Taken by Wikimedia Commons


In order to decide whether the school is going to close or not, Mr. Lewis first checks what the surrounding counties are doing, in order to get a better indication of the situation the suburbs are in. If DC public schools or the federal government closes, it is an automatic red flag as DC is historically very conservative in regards to closing. Mr. Lewis also explained that the weather forecast for the rest of the day may ultimately decide whether school will remain open.


Following the decision to no longer follow Arlington County, WIS has implemented a new snowday “virtual learning policy”. In an email addressed to the entire WIS community, Mr. Lewis wrote: “Middle and Upper School students will be expected to complete these virtual learning projects as if they were regular homework assignments; consequences for failing to complete online assignments will be the same as if the work had been assigned during a regular class.


When asked about the new policy, Mr. Lewis recalled that during the year of “snowmageddon”, a snowstorm which cancelled school for around two weeks, faculty were very successful in getting moodle up and running, and handled sending out assignments very well. However, since then, teachers began getting complacent, which Mr. Lewis believes this complacency was evident during the ten days WIS was closed due to snow last year. Mr. Lewis stressed that he is realistic that the weather is unpredictable and that he had to find a way to make sure learning went on uninterrupted without having to add school on weekends or vacation days.

By Matteo Schlitz

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