New York City Is Replacing Snow Days With Distance Learning

by Christina Marfice
Originally Published: 
Christina Bochow/EyeEm/Getty

New York plans to replace snow days with remote learning next school year, and who knew this was the topic that would bring together our divided nation?

I’m going to just paint a little picture that should jog memories for anyone who grew up somewhere with a winter climate: Your alarm goes off in the morning, but it’s still and quiet outside. The world is covered in a heavy blanket of snow that fell the night before. You and your mom turn on the local news and anxiously watch the ticker full of school names scroll across the bottom of the screen, until… Yes! Your school is closed. It’s a snow day, and a day of playing outside, watching movies, and drinking cocoa awaits.

In New York, that dream is dead.

Yes, that’s right — the state has decided that it will be replacing snow days with remote learning beginning next school year. While they’re at it, they may as well replace ice cream trucks with vegetable stands, and impose mandatory chores at the park. Seriously, can kids have no joy? Not even after the absolutely joyless year of pandemic they just survived? WTF, New York?

Nicholas Christakis, a Yale sociologist and father of four kids, put it even better than we could.

“This is preposterous,” he told the New York Times. “These people are joyless bureaucrats. And you can quote me on that!”

The end of snow days has united basically the entire internet. Yes, in these politically polarized times, people have come together to protest the one thing that can unite us: Surprise days off from school.

A lot of the criticism is centering around the fact that we apparently now expect kids to be just like adults in this late-stage capitalistic hellscape: Able to work for hours on end, five days a week, never needing a single goddamn break.

The end of snow days has been part of the larger pandemic conversation for months, after the world shut down and schools shifted to remote learning for months on end. Of course, it’s not as simple as just shifting to Zoom class if the weather is bad. This move will require working parents to not only scramble to find childcare on “snow days,” but also have to ensure their kids have the proper devices, strong wifi, and enough supervision to stay engaged in a remote classroom. It’s absurd and a lot to expect of students and their families — on a day where those students should just be having fun in the snow.

New York, bring back snow days. We’ve all been through enough.

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