By Alex Zimmerman, Chalkbeat New York
New York City school buildings will be closed for in-person learning on Thursday due to a storm that’s expected to dump up to a foot of snow across the five boroughs. But students will still be expected to log on for remote learning.
The closure of school buildings will affect a relatively small number of students because middle and high school buildings were already closed indefinitely, many elementary school students are learning remotely full time, and the vast majority of elementary schools are still only allowing students to attend a few days each week.
Learning Bridges, the city’s childcare program for children of essential workers, will also be cancelled, as will Young Adult Borough Centers, after-school programs, and adult learning centers, education department officials said. The city’s meal distribution program at schools will also be suspended.
Mayors often receive criticism no matter what decision they make about snow days — and this storm is no exception. Given the stress of the pandemic, and broader frustration with remote learning, some students said they were upset to learn that the city will not be offering any official snow days this year.
“It’s like we’re in a boiling pot of water and eventually we’re going to boil over,” 5th-grader Katie Wilkins told Gothamist. “A lot of this is really stressful — a great way to relieve stress is a snow day.”
Still, for any parents or families who are considering spending some time in the snow, it’s unlikely there will be much of a penalty: The city’s current grading policy prevents schools from taking attendance into account.
Chalkbeat is a nonprofit news site covering educational change in public schools.