‘Go build a snowman’: Superintendent declares snow day, internet sheds tears of joy

A local superintendent has turned an announcement about schools closing for an impending snowstorm into a teachable, emotional moment.

Bondy Shay Gibson is superintendent of Jefferson County, West Virginia’s public schools. Adjacent to Loudoun County, Virginia, Gibson heeded meteorologists’ forecast of a major snowstorm and sent a note to the community that schools would be closed Wednesday.

For generations, families have greeted the first snow day of the year with joy. 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 onto for life.

While the closing of schools always brings yips of happiness from children, Gibson’s announcement held extra poignancy during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

It has been a year of seemingly endless loss and the stress of trying to make up for that loss. 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.

Gibson made no mention of doing homework — or shoveling snow — in her letter to children, their parents and staff.

So please, enjoy a day of sledding and hot chocolate and cozy fires. 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. We will return to the serious and urgent business of growing up on Thursday, but for tomorrow — go build a snowman.


The news of the day does not sit well with parents who think their children should be in class and learning and for those parents who have to work.

For the most part, Gibson’s letter touched has sparked positive reactions on social media.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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