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To: Mayor Eric Adams, Chancellor David Banks

Bring Back Snow Days for NYC Kids

Bring back snow days! On the rare occasions that NYC has enough snow to cancel school, our kids deserve to enjoy the magic of the snow. Our students and their parents and caregivers don't need to spend the day wrestling with zoom links and online classrooms.

Why is this important?

Snow days were a magical part of childhood for many of us. Waking up to see a world covered in white, to hear that your school days was canceled, and to learn that occasionally we throw away our routines to play, to marvel at the natural world, and to drink hot chocolate.

However, following the city's expansion of remote learning during the pandemic, Mayor Adams and Chancellor Banks said that when in-person school is canceled, students would pivot to remote learning. Chromebooks are sent home, schedules are posted on digital classrooms, and the business of school continues.

It's unfortunate and unnecessary.

Remote learning is a poor substitute for in-person learning as students, educators, and parents all agreed, especially for early learners. The educational gaps we worry about aren't made or broken by one day of zoom tutelage.

And, sadly, the tech just isn't up to snuff. Even with a day's notice, the Department of Education's digital hub went down Tuesday morning, leaving many students unable to access the tools they were told were required for the day. This sent parents into the spiral of being tech support, at-home educational aides, and frustrated disciplinarians.

All while the snow fell outside.

It makes sense in an era of increased climate emergencies such as last summer's toxic-air days to have remote options. But it also makes sense to let kids experience and enjoy a day that's different than others ... especially one that's rarer and rarer.

So there are many steps the DOE can take: Clearer plans and tools for remote learning; an investment in digital literacy that includes online security and privacy; an assurance that the commercial vendors we're using aren't commodifying our students' digital information; and good old-fashion projects that kids can work on OFF of their computers ... on their own, with siblings and friends, or with caregivers, depending on their home situation.

But one other thing the DOE and City can do: Bring back the snow day.


2024-02-15 19:42:40 -0500

10 signatures reached