No more snow days: NYC students to learn remotely instead of canceling classes

NEW YORK — When New York City students return to classes in the fall, “Snow days” will offer no reprieve from instruction.

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Rather than cancel class for inclement weather, like layers of snow, the New York City Department of Education expects students to learn remotely, much as they have done during the coronavirus pandemic.

“On ‘Snow days’ or days when school buildings are closed due to an emergency, all students and families should plan on participating in remote learning,” the New York City Department of Education said in a statement earlier in the week.

Students are expected to return to classrooms at the start of the next academic year, WPIX reported. Students and teachers had adapted to remove instruction because of restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic.

“In order to meet the New York State mandate of 180 in-session school days, rather than cut into spring break, religious observances, or the already short and much-needed summer, we will pivot to remote learning days during rare instances when schools close due to inclement weather,” Danielle Filson, a spokesperson for the education department, told CNN. “We are sad for a year without snow days, but we must meet the state mandate and we can leverage the technology we invested in during the pandemic so our students get the instructional days required by the state.”

Parents are not sold on the idea.

“(Snow days are) something to to look forward to in the dark days of winter,” Erin Berg, who has a 4-year-old daughter, told The Washington Post. “I’m not confident if we did a snow day where they had to do the virtual thing that they could just concentrate. ... And there are a lot of barriers that have still not been solved. Are they going to keep devices at home? Who’s going to update them? If they can’t log in that day or Mom and Dad can’t be there to facilitate ... it’s all these things we still haven’t solved.”

The Department of Education also added two “non-attendance days” to the calendar, WPIX reported. Students will not have class Oct. 11 in observance of Indigenous People’s/Italian Heritage Day, formerly Columbus Day, WNBC reported. Schools will also be closed June 20, 2022, in observance of Juneteenth.