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"Build a snowman': School district's heartfelt snow day announcement goes viral

Families in Jefferson County, West Virginia, were told to turn off their computers and enjoy the first powder of the season.
/ Source: TODAY

Snow days aren’t melting away forever — at least not in Jefferson County, West Virginia.

In a heartfelt letter that went out ahead of Wednesday’s storm, school superintendent Dr. Bondy Shay Gibson cited the stress of the COVID-19 epidemic for canceling online classes.

“For just a moment, we can all let go of the worry of making up for the many things we have missed by making sure this is one thing our kids won’t lose this year,” Gibson wrote. “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.”

Closing school was a no brainer for Gibson, who is enjoying Wednesday’s fresh powder with her 14-year-old son.

“I understand how overwhelmed these kids are and how difficult the pandemic has been for them. They’ve lost all of these pieces of their childhood that they won’t get back,” Gibson told TODAY Parents. “This is something we can give them and give ourselves.”

After the note was shared on the Jefferson County Schools Facebook page, it quickly went viral with nearly 50,000 shares.

"Ok, this made me cry a little bit," one person commented.

Added another, "Best thing I've seen in 2020!"

Dr. Michele Dowell, superintendent of schools in Belle Vernon, Pennsylvania, was so inspired by Gibson that she sent out a similar letter announcing a snow-related closure.

“Build a new memory and possibly a new tradition in your family,” Dowell wrote. “Enjoy the wonders of this season and forget, even if for a very short period of time, about all the stress that we have been under for so long.”