JEFFERSON COUNTY, Wv. (WDVM) — With Winter Storm Gail dropping several inches of snow across the area, Jefferson County Schools, in West Virginia, decided to cancel classes today for students and their families to enjoy “the first snowfall.”

During any normal school year, Winter Storm Gail would have forced schools to close due to inclement weather. But Jefferson County Schools wanted to honor the tradition of the first snow, sending a very special message to their community.

“Do not get me wrong academics are important, we have a lot to make up for. And we will be doing remote learning during inclement weather this year… But that first snow day that everybody looks forward to and they get excited about, there’s something special about that.”

Dr. Bondy Shay Gibson sent a letter to the JPS community, telling them to make the most of their snow day and hopes that parents recognize the importance of their student’s mental health during a very difficult year.

Letter sent from Dr. Bondy Shay Gibson to students and parents

“Really focus on their mental health, focus on their happiness. They’ve lost a chunk of their childhood that they won’t get back. And you could either be sad about that… I get that you are, or you can do everything that you can to help mitigate it and help give them some happy memories to balance that out and that’s really what this is all about.”

Superintendent of Jefferson County Schools, Dr. Bondy Shay Gibson, explained that while the school system could have continued to hold virtual classes, she wanted children to enjoy the snow. She explained, while holding a warm cup of coffee, that childhood is fleeting and that the school system will return to “the serious and urgent business of growing up” the following day.